Diabetes FAQ

Below are some common questions regarding proper nutrition for diabetics. We've attempted to answer these questions below, but if you have questions that aren't addressed here, please feed free to contact us at or 217-788-3948.

If I have diabetes, do I have to never eat any potato, bread, or white foods again?

This is one of the biggest myths out there for diabetes management. Eating potatoes and bread will affect the glucose level, but cereals, rice, pasta, milk, yogurt, snack foods like potato chips, crackers, pretzels, fruit, and cookies, cakes, and other desserts, as well as sugar sweetened beverages will also affect the glucose level.

What really matters is the amount of carbohydrate consumed, or portion size and the timing of the meals and snacks that contain carbohydrates. Meal planning for diabetes should be individualized; meeting with a registered dietitian is one of the best ways to determine the best meal planning for glucose management. A referral from a physician is necessary for the outpatient dietitians at Memorial Medical Center. Please ask your physician to provide this simple referral.

For carbohydrate counting, can I subtract out the fiber from the total carbohydrates?

The total carbohydrates is the number that needs to be used for meal planning with diabetes. We don’t incorporate the subtraction of fiber on a regular basis for two reasons: it makes it very complicated and most people don’t consume the recommended amount of fiber each day.

However, we do recommend that individuals make the effort to incorporate more dietary fiber from foods that are considered complex carbohydrates, for example, choosing whole-grain bread over white bread and choosing brown rice instead of white rice. Speak with your registered dietitian for more information.

Do I need a doctor's referral to have an individual appointment or attend group classes?

Yes. We need your doctor to fill out our diabetes management education referral form before you are scheduled for your appointment or class.

Will my insurance/Medicare pay for diabetes self-management education?

Medicare or insurance may pay for diabetes self-management, individual appointments, classes and nutrition education. Check with your insurance carrier to determine your coverage or contact us for assistance.

What can I do to improve my glucose before my appointment?
  • Be consistent - eat about the same time each day, and eat similar-sized meals.
  • Take your medicine as prescribed.
  • Don't skip meals.
  • Don't eliminate carbohydrates from your diet.
  • Check your blood glucose.
Will I eventually be on insulin if I have diabetes?

Not necessarily. Eating a healthy diet and begin active daily is the primary treatment for Type 2 diabetes. Many people can use these healthy lifestyle modifications to manage their diabetes and avoid diabetes medicines.