Anyone who is living with diabetes has heard about the importance of improving your diet. That means removing bad foods and adding in healthier ones. Want to know one surprising dietary item diabetics should limit? It's coffee! Here's why.

This is Why Coffee is Dangerous for Diabetics

steaming cup of hot coffee

Research says that consuming lots of caffeine can hurt your insulin sensitivity in just four weeks! If that happens, you need more insulin to maintain your blood sugar levels. (And to keep your diabetes under control.) So, if you're diabetic, talk about your caffeine intake with your doctor. 

But here's a big catch. If you don’t have diabetes, drinking coffee can actually lower your disease risk! Yup: a 2009 study followed 40,000 people and their caffiene intake. People in the group who drank at least 3 cups of tea or coffee each day noted a 40% decrease in their risk for type 2 diabetes.

After that finding, a 2011 study followed healthcare professionals in the US and UK. And it showed that people who upped their caffeine intake lowered their type 2 diabetes risk by 11% decrease over the next 4 years.

Now you know what not keep out of your diet. So let's turn to healthier additions such as fish oil and zinc! Both have important potential benefits for diabetics. When it comes to zinc, the supplement could prevent diabetes-related heart problems. And when it comes to fish oil? You're getting two kinds of omega-3 fatty acids. (Eicosapentanoic acid, or EPA, and docosahexanoic acid--DHA. Both are essential to good health.) Now, let's take a closer look at both supplements. And their effect on diabetic health.

Zinc, Diabetes and Heart Health

You already know that diabetes can hurt your feet. But did you also know that the disease ups your risk for blood clots and heart issues? Well, it's true. So University of St Andrews researchers are exploring how zinc can protect diabetics. 

What's the possible connection? When you have type 2 diabetes, you've got a higher risk for blood clots. And those clots can damage your blood vessels. All while increasing your risk for strokes and DVT. (Deep Vein Thrombosis, a clot that forms in your deep leg veins. If it breaks free, it can travel to your lungs. And pose a potentially fatal threat to your health.)

In one study, researchers learned that diabetics bodies' transporting zinc well. That's because type 2 diabetics have elevated fatty acid levels. And those acids can interfere with zinc distribution.

While the study needs more follow up, one thing is clear. By improving zinc distribution in your body, you may prevent diabetic complications. So talking to your diabetes care team about zinc is a great idea. And that's not the only important supplement for diabetics.

Fish Oil and Diabetic Kidney Health

Omega-3s can benefit anyone. The acids may reduce the risk of heart disease, and protect against depression, cancer and arthritis. (Not too shabby, right?) And when it comes to people with type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetics? Omega 3 fatty acids can play an even more important health role. Because studies suggest that fish oil can help support kidney function. And that's something that is very important for diabetics. 

In fact, over 40% of type 2 diabetics develop a condition known as diabetic nephropathy. (Along with kidney disease or damage, it's one of the leading causes of end-stage renal disease.) We know that's scary. But here's some good news. A PLOS journal study showed that daily fatty acid supplements relieve diabetes-related kidney problems. The study also found that imrovements were better when subjects took a larger daily dose.

Fatty Acids, Insulin Resistance and Diabetic Neuropathy

Omega-3 Fatty Acids from fish can help prevent the pain of diabetic neuropathy

Studies also show that fatty acids can help improve type 2 diabetics' insulin response. In fact, taking four grams of fatty-acid supplements each day improved insulin sensitivity in 10 weeks.

Even better? Adding omega-3 fatty acids can help lower your risk of diabetic neuropathy. (That's the tingling or numb sensation in your feet that results from decreased blood flow and sensitivity in your extremities.) Clearly, these are great reasons to eat your fish. So scroll to the end of this post for one of our favorite diabetic-friendly fish recipes!

Getting Nutrition from Food vs. Vitamins

In most studies, diabetics took omega-3 supplements. But the best way for your body to absorb this nutrient is by eating foods that are rich in the acid. That's why it’s very important for diabetics to include fish in their weekly meal plans.

Unfortunately, some people are very resistant to the idea of trying out fish. We hear so many complaints about this dietary staple, from its smell to its consistency. Some people can’t handle the idea of “fishiness.”

For that reason, we're sharing this easy (and tasty!) fish-based recipe. We think we found a winner from the American Diabetes Association!

Fish Fillets with Lemon Parsley Topping

This tempting fish dish should appeal to even the pickiest of eaters!

(This Recipe Serves 4)


  • 4 (6 oz) lean white fish fillets (such as tilapia, snapper, or flounder), rinsed and patted dry
  • paprika to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4 tsp dried dill weed
  • 1 medium lemon, halved


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil. Then, coat foil with cooking spray. Arrange the fillets on foil, sprinkle them with the paprika. Season lightly with salt and pepper, if desired. Bake 10 minutes or until the fish is opaque in center.
  • While fish cooks, combine remaining ingredients, except lemon halves, in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.
  • Use a slotted spatula to remove the fish. Place on four dinner plates, and squeeze lemon juice over all. Top with parsley mixture and enjoy!

Now, we understand people’s reluctance to try out fish. Still, we hope you can stay open to new things. Especially when they can be so beneficial to your health! So let us know if you like this recipe. And don’t forget: diabetics need regular podiatry visits. So make an appointments with your Houston podiatrist. We offer comprehensive diabetic foot examinations! And can help relieve neuropathy pain and other diabetic complications.





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