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Evidence-based nutrition guidelines for the prevention and management of diabetes

The purpose of this document is to provide evidence-based nutrition recommendations for healthcare professionals to support adults with diabetes, and those at risk of Type 2 diabetes. 


Download the full Evidence-based nutrition guidelines for the prevention and management of diabetes (PDF, 28.4MB).


A key strategy applied in these current guidelines was to formulate recommendations from the available evidence highlighting the importance of foods, rather than focusing on individual nutrients, wherever possible.


The guidelines recommend:

  • An individualised approach to diet taking into consideration the person’s personal and cultural preferences 
  • People eat more of certain foods such as vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, fish, nuts and pulses 
  • People eat less red and processed meat, refined carbohydrates and sugar sweetened beverages.  


These nutrition guidelines are relevant to people at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Special considerations have also been discussed for Gestational diabetes and Cystic Fibrosis- Related diabetes. 

Children are not included in the scope of these guidelines. The International Society of Paediatric and Adolescent Diabetes (ISPAD) clinical practice guidelines have been adopted by Diabetes UK.


Diabetes UK first published dietary recommendations for people with diabetes in 1982, with subsequent updates in 1992, 2003 and 2011. The previous evidence-based guidelines, published in 2011, had included studies published up to August 2010. The 2018 guidelines incorporate existing evidence and additional studies published between January 2010 and July 2017, although an exception was made to include a major UK study of diabetes remission, published in December 2017.

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