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People with diabetes can enjoy dill pickles as a snack or as part of their favorite meals. However, they should be careful with sweet pickles, and people at risk for heart disease should consider the impact of the extra sodium on their health.

Pickled and fermented foods can offer some benefits. People with diabetes who want to include them in their diet can try marinating vegetables and fruit at home, where they can control how much sodium or sugar they eat.

The following article describes everything a person living with type 2 diabetes needs to know about pickles. It also provides information on other fermented foods, what to include in a diet and what to avoid.

A person with type 2 diabetes can eat pickles as a snack or as part of their meal. There are a few exceptions to this rule, and people should always eat them in moderation.

Dill pickles are usually the best option because they contain less than 2 grams (g) of carbohydrates in a serving of 100 g. Low sugar and carbohydrate levels should help keep blood sugar levels from rising after a meal or snack.

People with type 2 diabetes may also benefit from another health benefit of dill pickles due to the vinegar that often accompanies them. According to a Systematic review 2018, several studies have observed that consuming vinegar can help reduce the levels of A1C in the blood, which is beneficial for the management of diabetes.

In another preliminary 2013 study, the researchers found similar results. They noted that healthy adults consuming vinegar with meals achieved better fasting blood sugar levels during the 12-week study.

However, dill pickles have a downside. They are extremely high in sodium, with 808 milligrams (mg) in a portion of 100 g. Since a person with diabetes is already more at risk of developing heart disease and high blood pressure, they should only eat dill pickles in moderation to avoid too much sodium in their diet.

Sweet pickles are also not suitable for people with diabetes. They contain approximately 18.3 g of sugar in a portion of 100 g. TO help prevent spike in blood sugar, a person should consider eating protein, such as chicken, and healthy fats, such as olive oil, when consuming a sweet pickle.

Sweet pickles also contain about 457 mg of sodium in a single serving.

To be clear, sweet pickles include “bread and butter” and other sweeter pickles.

Pickles are relatively devoid of nutritional value. Although they are often low in calories, they do not offer a lot of vitamins or minerals except sodium, which can be harmful to a person’s health.

A person living with type 2 diabetes may find adding pickled or fermented foods to their diet to be beneficial.

Fermented foods can have health benefits, such as providing antioxidants. Numerous studies show that consuming antioxidants can help reduce the number of free radicals, or harmful particles, circulating in the body.

However, the American Diabetes Association lists pickled foods as high in sodium and says people should eat them in moderation.

Some pickled foods that a person can consider adding to their diet in moderation include:

  • Olives
  • beets
  • radish
  • carrots
  • Sauerkraut

A person can also pickle vegetables and fruits at home, which means they can pickle just about any vegetable they want. Pickling at home has some nutritional benefits because a person can control the amount of sodium or sugar they use to prepare pickled foods.

If pickling at home isn’t an option, a person should look for pickled foods that are:

  • low in sodium
  • low in sugar
  • fermented

People with diabetes should discuss with their doctor the best dietary changes for their situation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that a person follow a meal plan based on:

  • individual tastes
  • goals
  • way of life
  • medications

Although a meal plan may vary, they recommend that a person eat:

  • mostly whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and whole grains
  • non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, zucchini, mushrooms, green beans and other leafy vegetables
  • less sugars and refined grains, such as white bread, pasta, baked goods, and candy

Learn more about the best foods for people with diabetes here.

People with diabetes should aim to limit food which have high amounts of sugar and processed carbohydrates. These foods can quickly raise a person’s blood sugar and are generally not beneficial to anyone’s health.

Some foods to avoid include:

  • energy drinks
  • flavored milk
  • sports drinks
  • sweet tea
  • lemonade
  • fruit juice
  • regular soda

Additionally, a person should limit the following foods:

  • Candy
  • fries
  • cake
  • ice cream
  • crackers
  • white pasta, white bread and other processed carbohydrates
  • pies

A person living with type 2 diabetes can include pickles in their diet in moderation. They may find that pickle vinegar helps control their blood sugar levels.

A person should look for varieties that are low in sodium and no added sugar to help reduce their sodium intake and prevent spikes in blood sugar.


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