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Lifestyle Recommendations for Diabetics

Thursday 14 May 2020
5 minute(s) read

Table of contents

I. How to eat and drink


III. Daily routines

IV. Medication

V. Menstruation and menopause

Proper diabetes management requires you to be in tune with your condition. After living with your diabetes for a while, you will learn what foods and activities cause your blood sugar to rise and fall. Diabetes affects all aspects of your life and there are several factors that need to be managed in order to have a happy and healthy life. 

How to eat and drink

Carbohydrates: What you put in your body is the most important thing in diabetes management. For some diabetes patients, it can be important to count carbohydrates. Carbs have the biggest impact on blood sugar levels and if you take mealtime insulin, then you have to know the number of carbohydrates in your food. To help with this process, you can keep a food journal and write down the proper portions for the foods you eat. Portioning foods may require the use of a scale or measuring cups. 

Meals and medications: It is important that your food intake is proportional to any diabetes medication you are taking. If you don’t balance your food with insulin then you may experience the dangerous effect of low blood sugar or high blood sugar. It is important to properly time meals with your insulin intake. 

Well balanced meals: It is important that every meal you consume is balanced to hit all the food groups. Every good meal should include starches, fruits, vegetables, proteins, and fats. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are the good types of carbohydrates, but you should balance these out with high fiber foods so your blood sugar levels will remain stable. 

vegetables on a cutting board

Sugary beverages: Sugary foods are not the best for diabetes patients and sugary drinks should be avoided as well. High fructose corn syrup is present in many drinks and diabetes patients should be aware of which beverages are high in calories. These drinks cause blood sugar spikes. 

Alcohol: You should always get your doctor’s approval before drinking alcohol with diabetes. If you can drink, always do so in moderation. Those with diabetes should not drink alcoholic beverages on an empty stomach and should always check their blood sugar before bed. Alcohol can lower your blood sugar levels, so you may need a snack before bedtime.


Maintaining a healthy exercise routine is a huge priority in diabetes management. When you exercise, your muscles use sugar (glucose) for energy. You don’t have to run marathons to get the right amount of exercise; housework, gardening, or daily walks can improve your blood sugar. If you use insulin and your blood sugar is below 100 milligrams per deciliter, it is smart to have a snack before exercising. Before starting exercise, you should: 

Talk to your doctor: Your doctor can help you determine which exercises are right for you. If you have been inactive for a long time then your doctor will examine your overall health to make sure you are ready for exercise. 

Keep an exercise schedule: Your doctor can advise you on the best time to exercise based on your blood sugar levels. With this schedule, you can coordinate mealtimes with your exercise and medications. You can start slow by taking 10 minute walks, 3 times a day and work up from there. 

Stay hydrated: Maintaining your fluids is vital with diabetes. It is important to drink plenty of water while exercising because dehydration can affect your blood sugar levels.

Some exercises can include

  • Using stretch bands to improve muscle strength
  • Yoga
  • Heavy gardening 
  • Push-ups 
  • Brisk walks
  • Light jogging

a woman doing sit ups

Daily routines

  • Check your feet every day for cuts, blisters, red spots, and swelling.
  • Check your blood pressure if your doctor advises you to keep a record of it
  • Stop smoking
  • Brush your teeth every day to keep your gums healthy
  • Keep track of your blood sugar. You may want to check it one or more times a day. [2]


The medications you take for your diabetes condition are essential in maintaining your blood sugar levels. It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions and take the proper dose of your medications like Januvia at the right time. With your medication you should:

Store it properly: Insulin needs to be stored at a neutral temperature because it is sensitive to extreme temperatures. You should pay attention to the dates on your medication because insulin can expire over time.

Stay in contact with your doctor: It is important to keep open communication with your doctor. Let your doctor know if you are having a hard time getting your sugar level under control. 

Be cautious with new medications: If you are taking supplementary medications to combat high blood pressure or cholesterol, you should closely monitor how these new medications interact with your sugars. Always check with your doctor before taking any new over-the-counter drugs. 

Menstruation and menopause

Women with diabetes have to keep an eye on the effect of their hormone levels on their blood sugar. During menstruation and menopause, a woman’s fluctuating hormone levels can result in changes in blood sugar. It is important that women look for patterns in their blood sugar levels in regards to their menstrual cycle. Women can predict fluctuations in their cycle and act accordingly. 

If you are approaching menopause, it is advised to check your blood sugar more frequently. Menopause symptoms are often confused with symptoms of low blood sugar, so it is best to check your sugars often. Most birth controls do not interact with your diabetes condition, but some oral contraceptives can raise blood sugar levels in some women. [1] 

The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.