The Best and Worst Meats for People with Diabetes

meats for diabetics Young Adult Preparing Meal In The Kitchen
Living with diabetes can limit some of your food options, but that doesn’t mean you have to cut things out completely. Learn about the health impacts of meat on diabetes in our guide to diabetic-friendly meats.
For people with diabetes, it’s important to make smart decisions when selecting proteins. Not surprisingly, some choices are better for your health than others! Be cautious of anything that’s breaded, as it will impact your blood sugar levels and can make it hard to quantify the carbs you’re consuming. Keep an eye on the amount of saturated fat in meat, too, because heart disease is a common comorbidity of diabetes. (To find saturated fat, look for visible white fat in the meat as well as skin on the meat.)

Finally, avoid processed meats. Items like deli meats and sausage can contain compounds and additives that are inflammatory agents, exacerbating diabetes and leading to other chronic illnesses in the future.

What meats are good for type 2 diabetes?

Look for lean meats with little visible fat, skinless cuts and meats in their most natural form—whole cuts of meat as opposed to processed options. Find more about how type 2 diabetes affects your diet.

Thick Bone-In Rib Eye Steak on a cutting board

Worst: Marbled Steak

A diet high in red meat has been shown to contribute to many chronic illnesses, including diabetes. However, certain cuts of red meat can be worse than others for those with diabetes. Marbling refers to the white fat that can be seen throughout a cut of meat, which is primarily composed of saturated fat. Saturated fat has been shown to increase inflammation and even promote insulin resistance.

Is steak OK for diabetics? If you’re choosing cuts of meat with less marbling, steak can certainly fit into a diabetes-friendly diet in moderation.

Nutrition Facts

3 ounces: 300 calories, 24g protein, 24g fat (11g saturated fat), 0g carbohydrate, 60g sodium