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Planning a Low Potassium Diabetic Diet

written by: Audrey Alleyne • edited by: Donna Cosmato • updated: 6/16/2010

Once you know you have diabetes, you should get routine testing, and start taking proper care of yourself. A low potassium diabetic diet is a very important part of your new way of eating.

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    Many people eat not only for survival but for the pleasure of eating. In doing this, many do not think about eating healthy. We eat too much and we eat the wrong thing. It is only when they are diagnosed with a disease like diabetes that they begin to be aware of how important it is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Diabetes has an overall disastrous effect on one's body and lifestyle.

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    Keep Potassium Levels Low

    Potassium is essential for muscle building, as well as providing a healthy heart and transmitting nerve impulses. It is significant in that it regulates blood sugar, yet potassium levels should be kept low. A diabetic needs a low potassium diabetic diet to help in regulating his blood sugar, yet the levels should not be too low. You should be aware of the risks in a high potassium diet. When potassium is filtered through the kidney; the excess is filtered through the urine. If potassium levels become high, you stand the risk of falling victim to another disease. This disease is called hyperkalemia.The symptoms are general weakness, irregular heartbeat, and difficulty in breathing. In some extreme cases, the disease may result in paralysis.

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    Portion Control

    While you need the potassium to regulate your blood sugar, portion control is necessary. If you eat too much low potassium food, the blood potassium level increases and you become easily susceptible to the risk of hyperkalemia. You need to manage your portion size to ensure that you are consuming the correct potassium level in your diet. Vegetables and fruit are usually recommended for healthy diets, and dieters are encouraged to eat as much as they want of these. However, a diabetic has to be more careful. A serving size for a diabetic should be no more a ½ cup of fruit or vegetable for each serving.

    Here are some foods which can help to keep your potassium levels normal.


    • Apples (1 medium)
    • Asparagus
    • Apricots
    • Berries
    • Peaches
    • Plums
    • Pineapples
    • Dried cranberries
    • Watermelon ( 1 cup)


    • Celery (1 stalk)
    • Green beans
    • Wax beans
    • Snow Peas
    • Zucchini


    • Non-dairy creamers
    • Sherbets
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    How to Cook

    Use these cooking tips in a low potassium diabetic diet. Cook with onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and garlic. Leach potatoes to lower potassium content. Cook vegetables in a large amount of salted water, and then drain and discard the liquid.

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    Foods to Avoid

    Avoid fruits, vegetables, and carbohydrates, which are high in potassium and sugar. You have always been told that bananas are good for you, and they provide potassium, but the potassium in bananas is extremely high, as is the sugar in this fruit. Other fruits high in potassium and which should be excluded from a low potassium diabetic diet are dried fruits, sweetened canned fruits, potatoes, and acorn squash. According to the Cleveland Clinic, sports drinks, seasoned salt, and canned vegetables also fall into this category.