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Diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Monitoring and balancing blood sugar levels is crucial for diabetes management and can be achieved through a combination of lifestyle changes, including diet.
Diabetes diets are diets that are designed to help manage blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. There are different types of diabetes, including Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes, and the specific dietary recommendations may vary depending on the type of diabetes and individual needs.
Sunday, March 26th
WeightWatchers (sometimes branded simply as WW) is a weight loss program that focuses on portion control and encourages participants to make healthier food choices. The program assigns a SmartPoints value to each food based on its calorie, protein, and fiber content, and encourages members to make healthier food choices. WeightWatchers also promotes physical activity and offers a supportive community.
Diabetes-focused plan only for those with a diagnosis
If you've got type 1 or type 2 diabetes, WeightWatchers' diabetes-tailored plan is perfect for you; those with prediabetes should use the regular program instead. But, be aware that both programs are essentially the same, the main difference being that the diabetes-centric plan gives you access to a blood sugar tracker, and the ZeroPoint food list has been selected by both nutrition and diabetes experts.
How much support do you want?
You've got two paths to choose within WW: Core or Premium. What's the difference? It's all about the support. Core starts at $15/month and is an entirely self-guided experience. You'll do everything through the app, from tracking your food and using the nutrition plan to tracking your activity and doing a workout. You're not completely alone, though: through the app, you can connect with a coach 24/7 and participate in the members-only social network. With Premium, your pricing starts at $30/month and also includes in-person and virtual workshops for maximum support. You can choose sessions from morning to night, seven days a week - with no limit on how many workshops you participate in.
Teaches you to make sustainable changes
The biggest reason why WeightWatchers earns our highest ranking among diabetes diets is because of how it can teach you to make changes you can sustain for the rest of your life: no prepackaged meals, no "never eat anything delicious ever again" kinds of restrictions, you get the idea. Instead, WW gives you a Points Budget that you "spend" however you like, from wine to birthday cake. And, if and when you run out of those points, there's a whole list of "ZeroPoint" foods you can eat anytime, in any quantity, with no tracking or measuring.
Success requires tracking what you eat
Yes, you'll still need to track what you eat, because that's how you get out of autopilot and mindless munching, becoming aware not just of what you're eating but what's in what you're eating (protein, carbs, fats, fiber, and so on). You can follow the meal plans provided in the app, or use your smartphone to scan in a barcode on a package or search for a particular item. This is no quick-loss plan: most people using WeightWatchers lose 1-2 pounds per week, which is right on target with what nutritionists recommend for the average person.
Several price points and commitment options
As we mentioned earlier, WeightWatchers' pricing starts at $15/$30 per month, but depending on what promotions are in place at the time you join, you could see several options to choose from. For example, at the time of our most recent visit to the site, the Core package could be selected as a nine-month plan that included the first three months for free, no starter fee, and a free smart scale. If we didn't want to make that commitment right out of the gate, we could choose a three-month plan with the first month free and no starter fee, priced at $15/month. Or, we could opt to pay $43 for just one month ($23 for the month plus a $20 starter fee). You can cancel your WW subscription at any time, but there are no refunds if you quit before the end of the "Commitment Plan" you choose when you sign up.
Hundreds of thousands of five-star reviews
Although not everyone is successful using WeightWatchers as a diabetes diet, let's face it: there's no one plan out there that will work for everyone, because we all approach life (and food... and diabetes...) differently. It should be reassurance enough to know that WW is the #1 diet recommended by doctors, and to see that there are more than 500,000 reviews of the app on the Google Play store alone, averaging 4.6 out of 5 stars. While we wish there were some kind of free trial that would let you see for yourself if WeightWatchers will be a good fit, it's not a terribly costly way to get started on making those changes - especially since you'll have the freedom to work in your favorite foods, eat out for your birthday, and so on.
#1 diabetes diet
WeightWatchers can help you become more mindful of your habits, track your blood sugar, and learn how to eat in a way that can effectively manage your diabetes while losing weight. We love the realistic and positive way that WW approaches making these big life changes, recognizing that no one is going to forego dessert or drinks forever and be very happy about it - so they designed a diabetes diet that can make it all fit. Take some time looking through the website, reading the articles specifically about diabetes and understanding how WeightWatchers works, so you'll know which plan and pricing package will give you the best possible starting point. At the end of the day, we're sure you'll see why WeightWatchers is our #1 choice among diabetes diets.
Nutrisystem has helped millions of people lose weight over the last 50+ years. Their meal plans, including those that focus on customers with diabetes, are all safe, effective and clinically studied. You've probably seen lots of ads or even known more than one person who has used Nutrisystem to jump-start a weight loss journey or to get their meals dialed in to manage a health condition.
Does all of the planning and cooking for you, 5-7 days a week
The big advantage to using Nutrisystem is that it does all of the thinking for you when it's time to eat: your meals are selected for you and delivered right to your doorstep, with shipments every 4-6 weeks. Along the way, you'll get the opportunity to start incorporating a few basic groceries into "Flex" meals (assuming you don't stick with the 7-days-a-week plan), and adding your own fresh vegetables for more variety and flavor if you wish.
NuMi app adjusts your diet based on your metabolism
Also, in 2023, Nutrisystem introduced its "All-New" framework that tailors your diabetes diet to your unique metabolism. As you progress through your journey, your calorie goals will adapt to reflect the changes in your metabolic rate, helping you to avoid plateaus and yo-yo dieting. You'll see that happening in Nutrisystem's free NuMi app, which gives you one-touch tracking of water, food, and physical activity, free healthy recipes for your Flex meals, and access to coaching and nutrition advice. If you don't want to use the app, you can still use Nutrisystem as your diabetes diet: each package comes along with an easy-to-follow printed guide that tells you what to eat and when.
3 diabetes diet plans to choose from
There are three diet plans offered by Nutrisystem to help you manage your diabetes:
More food for dudes
Why are the prices listed as "Starting at" ? Not only do they depend on which of the three diets you choose, but it's also based on whether you're male or female - because the guys are assigned a higher caloric intake, which means more food.
Discounts and offers abound
There's almost always some kind of promotion in place at Nutrisystem that will get you a discount, a package deal, or some freebies if you place an order right away. During our latest visit to the site, we got a pop-up offering five free cookie packs with our order. There was also a sale that gave us 50% off our meal plan if we paid for the first two months' shipments in advance, or 53% if we paid for three months ahead of time. There was also an offer to save 50% on Nutrisystem's ProSync shakes (28 servings per package).
Chef's Choice or choose your own
When you're setting up your diabetes diet plan, you can either choose each meal you want to include or go with the Chef's Choice (Nutrisystem's most popular meals). They recommend the latter for your first order, just to keep things simple. What kind of meals can you expect? One sample daily menu from the Uniquely Yours Ultimate Diabetes Plan included a cinnamon roll and coffee for breakfast, a protein shake and strawberries for a morning snack, spinach and cheese pretzel melt with cucumber slices for lunch, walnuts and dried cranberries for an afternoon snack, four cheese manicotti and sauteed spinach for dinner, and an ice cream sandwich for dinner. That hardly sounds like diet food, does it?
See the reviews before you decide
How does the food taste? We love that Nutrisystem lets people see specific menu items - and their customer reviews and ratings, good or bad - before you even sign up. Caramelized Onion/Mushroom/Turkey Sausage Pizza? Winner winner, with almost all five-star ratings. Frozen BBQ Chicken Pasta Bowl? Might want to avoid that one (just a three star-average across 270+ ratings). Fortunately, as a new customer, you can also take advantage of Nutrisystem's money-back guarantee. It requires you to purchase a new 4-week plan, and it's only valid on your first order, but you can get a full refund (minus shipping) within the first seven days.
Best diabetes diet for total convenience
It's natural for people to feel overwhelmed when they hear those words "you've got diabetes and you need to change your diet" - which is why we love Nutrisystem as the best way to handle that right off the bat. Even if you only use their diabetes-focused meal plan for a month, that could be just enough to get you started on the right path. Nutrisystem can help you start to learn about portion sizes, healthy ingredients, and which foods will and won't spike your blood sugar, but it's not what you're going to use forever and ever as you live with diabetes (although theoretically you could). That's the only reason we aren't giving Nutrisystem our #1 ranking, but this diabetes diet still gets five stars.
If you're looking for the convenience of freshly-prepared, made-to-order meals that are diabetic-friendly and still taste amazing, look no further than Top Chef Meals. Although this company isn't as well-known as some of the diabetes diets in our review, it's one of our favorite choices for prepared meals overall, no matter what the dietary needs may be.
Meals for everyone, not just diabetics
Why? This is one of the most flexible options out there. When it comes to diabetes-friendly entrees, you can choose between Top Chef Meals' two pre-programmed diabetes menu options, or just go to the Diabetic Menu page and add meals a la carte to your order. It's also just as easy to add in meals for someone else in your household: not everyone wants or needs to eat this way, and if you want (re)heat-and-eat convenience for everyone at your dinner table, just pick the meals they would enjoy too (there are even kids' meals here).
Plenty of variety - and you choose the sides
What kinds of meals will you find on Top Chef Meals' diabetic menu? There are about 13 chicken dishes, 5 pork meals, 4 turkey selections, 7 beef-based entrees, 9 in the seafood category, 4 vegetarian recipes, plus over a dozen breakfast options. How does sliced flank steak and eggs sound as a paleo-friendly way to start your day? Dry rub baby back ribs or sweet curry chicken for lunch or dinner? Every entree comes with a main protein selection and your choice of two side dishes.
No commitment required
A huge reason to choose Top Chef Meals for your diabetes diet is that it's commitment-free. Just want to try a handful of entrees to see if you like it? You got it. Need to order extra meals one week and skip the next? No problem. You'll never pay membership fees, have to worry about canceling a subscription, or deal with any of the hassles that can be common among diabetes diet options.
Reasonably priced and free delivery for many customers
Pricing at Top Chef Meals is comparable to other diabetic-friendly prepared entree providers, with per-serving costs starting at $8.95 and most meals coming in around $11. Seniors can also get a 10% discount if they register on the TCM site. Your delivery fees will depend on where you live: if you happen to be in the NYC metro area, you actually qualify for no-cost courier delivery if you order at least 10 entrees. East of the Mississippi, most addresses will get free 1- or 2-day shipping; otherwise, expect to pay $19.95 per delivery for Priority Overnight. Feel free to click on the Shipping link at the top of the site if you'd like an estimate for what your fee might be.
Clients rave about this company, from the flavorful meals to the excellent customer service. On Trustpilot alone, across more than 5000 ratings, nearly 90% give Top Chef Meals four or five stars. We found comments from people who have used this company for a year or longer and say they've never gotten a bad meal, and there's a lot of praise for the made-to-order setup here. The service offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and you can count on the support team to make it right if anything ever falls short of your expectations.
No diabetes tools or trackers
The one and only drawback we can come up with is that Top Chef Meals doesn't have any tools for helping you manage your diabetes. You won't find an online support group, trackers for monitoring your blood sugar, workout recommendations, or anything else beyond meals. But, let's be real: you can find all of that in plenty of other places (usually at no cost) if you want it, and there's no need for Top Chef Meals to try to be an all-in-one platform when it does diabetic meals really well.
Top pick for freshly-made meals on a diabetic diet
Top Chef Meals could be the perfect way to simplify your life with diabetic-friendly meals - whether you fill your fridge with everything you need to eat for a whole week or just stock up on grab-and-go options to take to the office for lunch every day. This service eliminates all of the guesswork of figuring out what to eat and how much, while still giving you the freedom to choose what you'll actually enjoy eating instead of getting stuck with the dreaded veggie you've always hated. Top Chef Meals should be the first site you visit if you're looking for fresh, ready-made meals on a diabetes diet.
Sunbasket is a meal delivery service that offers both "you-cook-it" kits and heat-and-eat options, striving to use 100% organic produce, sustainably-raised protein, and recyclable/compostable packaging in everything they provide. This is accomplished in part by working directly with farmers, ranchers and fishermen, to bring you meals with fully-sourced ingredients.
Many meal options - even outside of the "diabetes-friendly" selections
There are quite a few meal choices at Sunbasket that would be appropriate for people with diabetes or prediabetes. Not only can you look in the Diabetes-Friendly menu category, but there are also options designated as Carb-Conscious, Paleo, and Keto-Friendly that might fit your diet. The nutritional information is available on every meal kit and ready-made entree, so you can always check for yourself. (For example, we're not sure why some juices and snacks have been designated as "Diabetes-Friendly" ; Sunbasket isn't really clear what criteria they use to assign those labels, FYI.)
Top chef wannabes and microwave masters both welcome here
You'll also notice two different designations: Meal Kits or Fresh & Ready. You can mix-and-match as you like, depending on whether you'd like to spend some time in the kitchen or you just need something fast and healthy to heat and eat. Be aware that the meal kits don't always include every little thing you'll need; you may have to contribute ingredients from your pantry, like oil or sugar. Fresh & Ready meals always serve just one person, while the Meal Kits are designed to serve two - share a meal with a friend or partner, or keep half for leftovers.
Recipes that even foodies will appreciate
What kinds of meals can you anticipate, particularly within the diabetes-friendly category? The menu rotates weekly, but at the time of this evaluation there were nearly 40 to choose from in that selection alone. And we're not talking about some boring waffles with sausage or a limp chicken parm. Fresh & Ready entrees included mouth-watering meals like chipotle butternut squash stew with chorizo, cauliflower and cashews, or maple-glazed pork chop over Hoppin' John with collards and pancetta. Meal Kits also didn't disappoint: maybe you'd enjoy the Jamaican fish soup or Korean beef skewers with ginger, pear slaw, and sesame seeds.
Look around for a promotion
Meals typically start at $9.99 per serving here, but Sunbasket regularly offers ways to save money on your order. Just look at the top of the site to see what promos might be in place. At the time of this review, it was free shipping on our first delivery; in the past, we got an offer of a generous $90 discount spread out across our first four deliveries, plus free shipping.
Strong attention to customer service
Customer satisfaction is high with Sunbasket. The company continues to enjoy a solid "A-" rating from the Better Business Bureau, with only a dozen complaints registered there over the last three years. More than 1700 people have given this meal company a perfect five-star review, and many of them have used the service year-after-year to make mealtime simple and delicious. Customer support is on point here too: Sunbasket offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee (just make sure to contact them within a week of receiving your order to report any problems), and it's easy to see their reps responding quickly and appropriately when complaints are made on Trustpilot and other places.
A few minor drawbacks
There are just a few reasons why Sunbasket might not be the right choice for a diabetes diet. First, there are no tools specifically for managing your condition: you won't get trackers for calories or blood sugar, and no support group, for example. Of course, you can easily find those resources in any number of ways, so there's no real need for Sunbasket to get that involved. Second, not every state is in the company's delivery area: if you live in Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, North Dakota, or some parts of New Mexico, you're simply out of luck. Finally, some Sunbasket customers have said that the portion sizes aren't quite as generous as they expected: keep that in mind as you're deciding which meals to order.
Great option for a diabetes diet you'll actually enjoy
Sunbasket can make one aspect of managing your diabetes much easier: having appetizing food to eat that's either fun and easy to prepare or quick to heat and eat (or both). We can really get behind the company's efforts to bring better-for-you ingredients to every meal and to package all of it in an environmentally-friendly way. It's not a comprehensive diabetes plan, but Sunbasket is still an excellent way to take care of your day-to-day meal planning so you can focus on other aspects of your condition.
The Atkins diet is a low-carbohydrate diet that was first popularized in the early 2000s. The diet is based on the premise that reducing carbohydrates in the diet can lead to weight loss and improved blood sugar control. This diet allows for unlimited amounts of protein and fat, but restricts carbohydrates, including sugars, grains, and certain fruits and vegetables. Some of the foods that are encouraged on the Atkins diet include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, and healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, and oils.
Lower carbs = better blood sugar regulation
One of the potential benefits of the Atkins diet is improved blood sugar control. By reducing carbohydrates in the diet, it can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of insulin resistance. The diet may also lead to weight loss, as reducing carbohydrates can cause the body to burn stored fat for energy.
Highly restrictive at first
This diet's approach is divided into three categories: Atkins 20, Atkins 40, and Atkins 100. The number refers to the number of net carbs you can consume each day. Atkins 20 is the most restrictive, allowing only 20 grams of carbohydrates per day and emphasizing high-protein, high-fat foods. This is where most people who are pre-diabetic or diabetic will start. As you progress through the phases of Atkins 20, you gradually add more carbohydrates to your diet (up to 100g per day), until you reach a level that allows you to maintain your weight.
Get familiar with the website first
The Atkins website will be the best tool for determining if it's the right diet for managing your diabetes, and for following the plan if you like what you see. It's free to use, and you can access meal plans, shopping lists, and recipes. Atkins also makes a wide range of convenience foods that you can buy directly from their online store, and you may even spot their frozen meals at your local supermarket.
Not suitable for all diabetics
However, it's important to note that the Atkins diet is not recommended for everyone. The high-fat content of the diet can increase the risk of heart disease and other health problems, especially if you have existing health conditions. The diet can also lead to nutrient deficiencies, as certain fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that are rich in essential vitamins and minerals are restricted. Some studies have shown that the Atkins super-low carb approach isn't sustainable in the long-term, and that diabetes diets that take a less restrictive approach deliver comparable benefits at the three-month mark.
Good diet overall but not for everyone
Atkins offers a low-carbohydrate diet that can be effective for weight loss and managing diabetes. However, since it's not the right fit for everyone, it's important to work with a healthcare professional to determine if it's suitable for you and will include all the essential nutrients your body needs for optimal health. Plus, the restrictive nature of Atkins (especially in the beginning) could be overwhelming as you're trying to overhaul your lifestyle. Give Atkins a look if you like a keto-focused plan, but don't commit until you've checked out the alternatives among diabetes diets.
Since 2013, Home Chef has been bringing people together to enjoy homestyle meals without the hassle of a trip to the supermarket. More than 10 million meals are delivered through this company every year. It's also one of the most family-friendly meal kit services out there, letting you choose 2, 4, or 6 servings per recipe and up to 6 meals per week.
Answer a few questions to get started
During the sign-up process with Home Chef, you'll be asked a few questions. Are you looking for meal kits that will save you time, help you eat fresh, or let you try new recipes? Are you familiar with this type of service? You'll also enter your zip code - which will tell you right away if Home Chef services your area - and email address.
Not a diabetes diet per se
When you're setting up your Home Chef account, there isn't an option to indicate that you specifically want diabetes-friendly meals. You can say that you'd prefer carb-conscious recipes, as well as any foods you'd prefer to avoid (sesame, peanuts, tree nuts, mushrooms, beef).
See six weeks of menu selections
For that reason, we strongly recommend that you go to the "Our Menu" section of the Home Chef website and click on the carb-conscious filter. You can see all of the recipes available for the current week and four weeks into the future (and even the previous week's, if you're curious). Some of the options we found included Cranberry Goat Cheese-Stuffed Chicken, Italian-Style Sausage Zuppa Toscana, and Mozzarella and Turkey Meatloaf with Roasted Potatoes and Sun-Dried Tomato Carrots.
Nutritional info readily available
When you go into any recipe, you can see detailed nutritional information. That's helpful if you've been told by your physician or nutritionist that you've got specific targets for carbs-per-meal or any other parameters. Many of the Home Chef kits have Customize It options that let you swap one vegetable for another, incorporate a different protein source, and so on.
Home Chef is also very friendly for cooking newbies. Every meal comes with step-by-step preparation instructions, complete with photos. You'll know well in advance what you'll need to do and how long it will probably take from start to finish. If you know you're going to be busy, look for recipes designated as "Express Plus" .
Affordable per-serving pricing
At the time of this review, Home Chef was offering a promotion that included 16 free meals spread out across the first three boxes, and a free surprise in the first delivery. That voucher code was applied automatically: no need to sign up for an email newsletter or anything else. We also noticed that first responders, health care professionals, teachers, and members of the military might be eligible for additional discounts through ID.me, so look for that during the sign-up process if that applies to you. Generally speaking, though, you can expect Home Chef meals to have a starting price of $7.99 per serving.
Flexible delivery choices
Home Chef's delivery options definitely work around your schedule. In the delivery area we tested, shipments could be scheduled for Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday. We were also able to get our first box within a week (ordering on Saturday and having it arrive on Thursday). You can also use Home Chef to plan your meals well in advance, scheduling deliveries as much as a month out. Shipping is $9.99 per delivery.
Feedback isn't always positive
How about reputation? Home Chef's is a little mixed. On the one hand, the BBB gives the company an "A+" rating and accreditation, with around 70 complaints filed over the last three years. (That's not a ton, given the millions of meals delivered by Home Chef every year.) But, the complaints filed with the BBB and registered elsewhere are worth mentioning. Some subscribers have had ongoing issues with meals: cooking instructions that aren't correct, missing or wrong ingredients, or items spoiling before the promised "fresh for five days" threshold. It can also be tricky getting refunds when those kinds of problems come up.
Not a standout among diabetes diets
As far as meal kits go, Home Chef is a decent option - especially if you're trying to come up with dinners for a big family. But, among diabetes diets, the appeal here is a little limited. It might work for you if portion control is your Achilles heel and having a ready-made meal kit would stop you from overeating. You'll still be doing all of the work for your other daily meals, though, and the simply "carb-conscious" options might not go far enough to help you actively manage your diabetes.
Klinio focuses on helping participants make healthier food choices, lose weight, and manage their blood sugar levels. The program uses technology, such as mobile apps, to help participants track their progress and receive support from a coach. Over 180,000 people are currently active users of this diabetes management system.
Well-rounded tools for diabetes management (or prevention)
With your Klinio membership, you'll get access to a variety of tools to help you manage your diabetes (or help you in your efforts to avoid the diagnosis). This includes meal plans and grocery lists, no-equipment-required beginner workouts to get you moving for 5-15 minutes at a time, an activity log, progress tracker, and plenty of educational content.
Take the quiz and save on your monthly fees
Klinio is regularly priced at $66 for a two-month subscription, $39 for three months (?), $108 for four months, $132 for six months, and $156 for a full year. However, the service often has seasonal promotions, and if you take the 60-second quiz on the Klinio website, you'll probably be offered a significant discount. We were given offers of $33 for two months, $54 for four months, or $66 for six months.
Detailed questions when signing up
Some parts of the signup process are really useful. For example, you can specify if you're a vegetarian or vegan, eliminate certain foods from a longer-than-average list (both of allergens and things you just don't like, such as mushrooms or melon), and choose how often you'd like to eat during the day (three meals, three meals and a snack, or three meals and two snacks). It also lets you specify if you're working with a diagnosis of type 1 or type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, or some other situation, and you can also indicate if you have any other health conditions (like high cholesterol).
Can be confusing
Other parts were less so. For example, we were told we had a metabolic age of 71 years (despite entering as our subject a 48-year-old female who was overweight but also an avid participant in strength training and HIIT cardio) - but with no explanation as to what that means, how it was determined, or why it would be an issue.
Caloric intake recommendations may be off
Another aspect to watch out for with this diabetes diet is the recommended caloric intake. Most sustainable meal plans set the intake to result in a maximum of two pounds lost per week (if that's even your goal, on top of managing your diabetes), but our Klinio plan had us targeted to lose 12 pounds in the first month. The calorie range it gave us wasn't too far off (1487-1637 per day), but we found reviews from other users who were supposed to say within a range of 1200-1400 despite being very physically active and only trying to lose 10 pounds.
BBB gives it a failing grade
The Better Business Bureau gives Klinio (and its parent company) a pretty dismal "F" rating: although there weren't a ton of complaints filed there, Klinio failed to respond to nearly all of them. Looking at the BBB listing and on Trustpilot, one frequent area of complaints for Klinio is cancellations: people say they have a hard time terminating their membership (or worse, they're charged for memberships they never intended to purchase). Be aware that you'll need to cancel your subscription the same way you signed up - on the app store if you used Apple or Google Play, or on the Klinio website.
App users aren't very enthusiastic
Users on the two app stores (Apple and Google) feel fairly "meh" about Klinio too. Across 3,500 reviews for iOs and over 5,000 on Android, this diabetes diet only earns an average of 3.7 stars. Subscribers' satisfaction seems to be most directly related to how comfortable they feel with managing their diabetes: those who are just at the start of their journey really seem to feel reassured by having the guidance offered on the Klinio platform, while more advanced users mention frustrations with not being able to swap out individual ingredients, discrepancies within the nutritional information, and other aspects that a beginner might not even notice.
Room for improvement
Klinio might be a diabetes diet to consider if you aren't looking for ready-made meals or meal kits and you want the simplicity of having all of your tools in one place, from recipes and shopping lists to trackers and beginner workouts. Just keep in mind that you may be able to get the same benefits at no cost with many of the free diabetes resources that are available, and that it's worth looking at some alternatives that have ranked more favorably with other users too.
Noom is a behavior-change program that uses a combination of personalized coaching, goal setting, and tracking to help participants make healthier food choices and lose weight. Noom's program is focused on developing a sustainable lifestyle and encourages participants to adopt healthy habits. The diabetes-focused program (also known as DPP) provides support and guidance from a specialized coach, who helps participants track their progress and stay on track.
Diabetic-specific services are prevention only
It's important to point out right away that Noom's DPP stands for "Diabetes Prevention Program" , and isn't necessarily geared towards those who have already been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. In their words, this app "can help you reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes through improving eating habits, physical activity, stress management, emotional eating, sleep hygiene, and other areas that may affect your health." That's different from most of the other diabetes diets in our evaluation.
Not everyone will qualify for the DPP
To determine if the DPP is right for you, you'll take a three-minute quiz. The very first question asks if you've already been diagnosed with diabetes, and if you answer "yes" , you'll be redirected to a 25% discount on their Noom Weight subscription instead. But, assuming you say "no" , you'll continue on to several other questions about your biological sex and gender (PS: Noom is very LGBTQ-friendly), family history of diabetes, and so on. Be aware that you'll have to click "yes" to several key questions in order to qualify for the DPP: being overweight alone won't make you eligible, and you'll need something like a previous gestational diabetes diagnosis or some other prediabetes indicator (like a diagnosis from your PCP or hemoglobin A1c between 5.7-6.4).
Noom's diabetes "diet" is a 12-month plan that's broken down into two phases. In the first six months, you'll focus on the fundamentals of nutrition and physical activity, communicating with your DPP coach at least once a week and interacting with a group of subscribers who signed up around the same time as you. This is really just to help you get started on the basics of changing your eating habits and getting more physically active. In the second six-month period, you'll dig more into what Noom is known for: behavioral topics like emotional eating, stress, and sleep. You'll still have the support of your coach and group in this phase. Many people enjoy the way Noom gives them a little checklist every day, sometimes with learning topics and in-depth articles, other times with new challenges to get you thinking differently about yourself. It can be very satisfying to check off whether you've gotten all of your water for the day or if you got a good night's rest.
Food tracking is noticeably vague
The food tracking itself here isn't our favorite, compared with other diabetes tools and even general weight loss apps. Noom color-codes its entries according to green, yellow, and red, with the idea being that you can enjoy green foods abundantly and red foods only occasionally - but it doesn't always line up with what nutritionists might have to say, and it's much more vague than taking a macros-based approach to tracking. It might be enough to get you started if you're brand-new to paying attention to the nutritional value of what you're eating, but you'll probably want something more specific later on (and definitely if you develop type 2 diabetes and need to be very exact with the nutritional profile of your food choices).
One-time fee or monthly subscription? It depends.
If you've looked into Noom in the past, be aware that they've changed their pricing significantly over the last few years. It used to be a pretty hefty fee for just a couple months of access, followed by a month-to-month subscription. Fortunately, at the time of this review, we were given a one-time fee of just $129 for a one-year program - and we tested that for both the DPP and the general weight loss program. You could get it for even less if you're able to score a promotional discount, or if Noom is covered as a benefit through your employer or your health insurance plan. But, your pricing will be based on the results of your quiz, and we did find a long list of subscription plans in Noom's FAQ (and yes, that ranged everywhere from $70 for a month-to-month subscription to $209 for an annual, auto-renewing plan). Your quote may vary.
Users have mixed feelings
You'll either love Noom - or you'll hate it. Feedback is really mixed, as demonstrated by the company's "A+" rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau - and over 1500 complaints (all addressed/resolved) registered there in the last three years. You'll see similar perspectives when you look at Trustpilot: across a whopping 61,000+ ratings, 60% give Noom a perfect five stars, but 20% would give it three stars or less. Users often love the app at the outset because it gives them the self-awareness they need to understand what they eat and why. That's a win even if Noom doesn't meet their needs throughout their entire diabetes/weight loss journey.
Might not be useful over the long run
As time goes on, however, most Noom subscribers find reasons to switch to a different approach - either for more in-depth nutrition tracking or for other causes - and cancelations can cause a problem here. Other frequently-mentioned problems include disappointment with the coaches (not enough interaction or multiple changes over the course of using the app) and glitches with the Noom app itself. There was even an alert at the top of the site during this review that apologized for several different updates that had caused widespread issues. You've got a 14-day grace period to try Noom (if you're not already part of a free trial that gets offered to some customers) and request a refund, but that may not be enough for you to get a feel for the app and decide if it's helping you with your diabetes concerns.
Too limited with respect to diabetes-focused diets
Among diabetes diets, Noom comes in as "just average" - mostly because their diabetes-specific program is only for people who meet a certain risk profile without actually having received a diabetes diagnosis, and the generic weight loss platform might not go far enough to help diabetic patients. It's one of the few resources out there that can help you delve into the psychology of your lifestyle, from eating habits to how you manage stress, so that could be a reason to give Noom a look. However, most people looking for a diabetes diet aren't necessarily going to be impressed with what this app has to offer.
BistroMD offers one of the most comprehensive ready-made meal options among diabetes diets. Whether you're pre-diabetic, diabetic, or just trying to be carb-conscious to keep your A1c in check, you might be interested in these doctor-designed meals. Each one has 25g of net carbs or less, an average of 30g of lean protein and 5g of fiber, with 1200-1400 calories per day. Meals are delivered frozen, so you have the convenience of eating them whenever you want, taking them to work for lunch, and so on.
Get 20 meals per week
Feel free to browse the menu samples on the BistroMD site, to get a feel for what their meals might include when you sign up. You could be eating 7-grain waffles with strawberry compote, steak and egg scramble, or sweet onion frittata - and that's just for breakfast. BistroMD's full program, consisting of 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 6 dinners (with one night a week designated as a choose-for-yourself "My Night" ), is regularly priced at $219.80 per week plus $19.95 for shipping. But, your first week will come at a 25% discount and ship for free, allowing you to get started for just $164.85.
Swap out any meals you don't want
Once you've purchased your diabetic diet plan, you can log in to see the menu built for you. See something you don't really want to eat? No problem: you can swap out anything you wish, and then choose from among several nutritionally-equivalent recommendations instead.
Some helpful tools for managing diabetes
BistroMD has a few other tools to support you as you work on managing your diabetes. There's a member community you can turn to for encouragement, to get answers to questions, and so forth. Not enough? Your subscription here also includes free 1:1 consultations via email with BistroMD's nutritionists.
Unappetizing and unreliable
When you see the 500+ ratings for BistroMD's diabetes diet, averaging well above 4 out of 5 stars, you might be impressed. Unfortunately, off the website, feedback is much less positive. Starting with the Better Business Bureau, where BistroMD has an "F" rating, the company failed to respond to several customer complaints. And, when you jump over to what people are saying on Trustpilot, it paints a pretty clear picture of horrible customer service and unappetizing meals. There were numerous rants posted within a few weeks of this review, saying that it was impossible to reach a representative to correct problems like duplicate shipments (and charges) and inappropriate meal substitutions, or to cancel the service altogether. It's not a good sign when the words often used to describe BistroMD are "lacking" , "awful" , and "worst service" .
Avoid this diabetes diet plan
As much as we want to like BistroMD for offering the most uncomplicated approach to diabetes diets - literally every meal of the day, almost seven days a week - the company fails to deliver high-quality meals with any level of reliable customer service. A diabetes diet is only going to work if you actually want to eat the food and if it arrives according to the plan and schedule you've selected. BistroMD just doesn't seem to get that done. You've got other options, and we strongly recommend that you choose a more reputable diabetes-friendly plan from among the higher-rated services in our review.
Overall, a diabetes diet focuses on controlling carbohydrates, which are the main nutrient that affects blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates are found in foods like bread, pasta, rice, fruits, and starchy vegetables. By controlling the amount and type of carbohydrates consumed, people with diabetes can help regulate their blood sugar levels.
There are several popular diets that can be effective for managing blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Some give you a plan to follow, with recipes and shopping lists, and you do all of the work yourself. Others give you ready-made meal kits with diabetes-friendly macros, and your only job is to cook, eat, and enjoy. The key to success is finding a diet that works for you and that you can stick to over time.
It's important to note that while many different diets may be effective for managing blood sugar levels, you should work with a healthcare professional to make sure any diabetes diet you choose will address your specific needs. Whichever one you choose, it should help you maintain a balanced and varied diet to ensure that you're getting all the nutrients your body requires.
When you start looking at your options for a diabetes-friendly diet or meal plan, it gets overwhelming pretty fast. Take a deep breath, and keep these factors in mind to help you sort through all of the possibilities:
Managing diabetes can feel daunting, but finding the right approach can make it easier. To help you choose one that will work for you, Top Consumer Reviews has evaluated and ranked some of today's most popular diabetes diets. You've got this!
Select any 2 Diabetes Diets to compare them head to head
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