What Should You Eat at Christmas If You're Diabetic?

During the holiday season, diabetics need to make an extra effort to look after certain aspects of their nutrition. The objective is to prevent the disease from progressing. Diabetes can change your entire lifestyle.
What Should You Eat at Christmas If You're Diabetic?

Last update: 10 April, 2021

Christmas is a difficult time of year for a diabetic. This can be because it’s a holiday where huge meals and desserts abound. Those who suffer from metabolic disorders such as diabetes have to make a special effort to look after their diets. If they don’t, their diet can quickly affect the state of their health.

One aspect of diabetes is that the body is unable to deal properly with carbohydrates. This disease has two types. Type 1 diabetes is a genetic condition and requires regular doses of insulin. However, type 2 diabetes develops over a lifetime and doesn’t always require insulin injections.

Beware of carbohydrates at Christmas if you’re diabetic

Fudges and other sweet desserts are typical at Christmas time. However, diabetics generally have to avoid eating very sweet desserts. Why? Well, these can cause problems for their blood sugar levels.

Recently, it’s been shown that a diet low in carbohydrates can be very useful for those who suffer from diabetes. A study published in the magazine Expert Review of Endocrinology & Metabolism, confirms this. With that in mind, diabetics should make proteins and healthy fats a large part of their diet.

Of course, while ketogenic diets are very useful in treating type 2 diabetes, it’s important to use them with caution in type 1 diabetes patients. Why? Firstly, they need to carefully control their blood sugar levels, and then they can progressively eliminate sugar from their diet. That’s how they can avoid sudden drops in blood sugar levels.

If you’re a diabetic, try to avoid desserts as much as you can at Christmas time. It’s a better idea to choose food that’s high in protein and healthy fats, such as meat and fish. If you feel the need to eat something that contains a lot of carbohydrates, try to make sure it’s complex carbohydrates. That way you can avoid extra stress on your pancreas.

A plate full of Christmas sweets.

If you’re a diabetic, avoid alcohol

Even though alcohol is a socially accepted toxin, it’s still a toxin. Regular alcohol consumption can cause health problems, and that’s even more so for diabetics. However, at Christmas time, alcoholic drinks are very common, since they’re associated with festive times and holidays.

If you’re a diabetic and regularly drink alcohol, you’ll be at a greater risk of suffering from hypoglycemia (extremely low blood sugar levels). This is what a study shows that was published in the magazine Diabetes Metabolism Research and Reviews.

The study specifies that further investigation is necessary to evaluate the exact risk. However, it’s clear that alcohol can lower blood sugar levels, which can be extremely dangerous for a diabetic’s health.

For these reasons, we suggest you avoid alcoholic drinks altogether. Don’t forget that they also negatively affect other vital systems such as the cardiovascular system.

Further, alcoholic drinks can cause hormonal imbalances that can impact your muscle mass. One option you have is to substitute alcohol for non-alcoholic mineral water, which is much safer.

Intermittent fasting is an excellent option

Intermittent fasting is a dietary aid that’s greatly changed the world of nutrition. This lifestyle choice has many obvious benefits, such as improved body composition (fat vs muscle). It also helps to reduce the risk of many complex diseases.

Experts also affirm that fasting can be useful in managing diabetes since it helps to stabilize blood sugar and reduce insulin resistance. This is what a study explains that was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. It may be easier to implement in type 2 diabetes patients.

Intermittent fasting is an excellent option for controlling diabetes.

Whatever the case, if you have diabetes and want to make some changes, what should you do? It’s a good idea to visit a nutritionist before starting any kind of diet that includes fasting. A professional should analyze your current nutrition and eating habits first before you put anything new into practice. Don’t forget that as a diabetic, any dietary changes will drastically affect the state of your health.

Look after your diet at Christmas if you’re a diabetic

As we’ve seen, there are certain key things you should watch out for at Christmas time if you’re diabetic. If you follow these suggestions, you’ll be able to avoid any extra health issues during the holiday.

And of course, the best part is that you’ll still be able to enjoy the holiday together with your family and friends. If you’ve got any doubts, visit a nutritionist. They’ll be able to help you with an adapted menu for your particular situation.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Westman EC., Tondt J., Maguire E., Yancy WS., Implementing a low carbohydrate, ketogenic diet to manage type 2 diabetes mellitus. Expert Rev Endocrinol Metab, 2018. 13 (5): 263-272.
  • Tetzschner R., Norgaard K., Ranjan A., Effects of alcohol on plasma glucose and prevention of alcohol induced hypoglycemia in type 1 diabetes- A systeamtic review with GRADE. Diabetes Metab Res Rev, 2018. 34 (3).

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.