Diverticulitis Diets for Diabetics

Quinoa porridge with apples and walnuts
A bowl of homemade porridge. (Image: Seagull_l/iStock/Getty Images)

Diverticular disease is a condition where pouches are formed in the colon as a result of a low-fiber diet and/or lack of exercise. The two phases of diverticular disease are called diverticulosis and diverticulitis. Diverticulosis is the quiet phase with little to no symptoms. During this time, it is recommended to consume a high-fiber diet to maintain regular bowel movements. Diverticulitis is the active phase when the pouches become infected and/or inflamed, and is accompanied by pain. During this time, it is recommended to consume a low-fiber diet. Because a diet high in fiber is recommended for people with diabetes to help control blood glucose, the diet for diverticulitis can be quite challenging.

Grains

People with diabetes should consume whole grains to help control blood glucose, according to the American Diabetic Association. However, during diverticulitis, it is recommended to replace whole grains with refined grains such as white breads, pasta, rice, and low-fiber cereals. Because these foods are high in carbohydrates and low in fiber, it is important for those with diabetes to closely monitor the portion sizes of these foods, and limit intake to 2 to 3 servings per meal. One serving is equal to 1 slice (1oz.) of bread, 1/3 cup cooked rice or pasta, and 3/4 cup low-fiber cereal.

Fruits

During a flare of diverticulitis, raw fruits, fruits with skin and juices with pulp should all be avoided. It is recommended to replace these fruit options with canned fruits without skin and fruit juices without pulp. Both of these options are high in sugar and portion control is very important for people with diabetes. According to the American Diabetic Association, one serving is equal to 4 oz. of juice or 1/2 cup of canned fruit. It is extremely important to avoid fruits canned in heavy syrup, and instead, choose those canned in their own juices.

Vegetables

Like fruits, raw vegetables and vegetables with skins should be avoided during diverticulitis. Most vegetables contain only small amounts of carbohydrates. Exceptions are starchy vegetable such as potatoes, which are high in carbohydrates. During diverticulitis, it is OK to consume well-cooked potatoes without skins. For those with diabetes and diverticulitis, servings must be limited to 1/3 cup cooked potatoes per meal.

Vitamins And Minerals

Consuming foods low in fiber results in a diet deficient in many important vitamins and minerals. Therefore, it is recommended for all individuals with diverticulitis to have a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement. Supplementation should continue until symptoms have resolved and fiber can once again be consumed at the recommended 20 g to 35 g per day.

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