It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.

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Ask Dr. Gourmet

Should diabetics avoid carbs (carbohydrates)?

My dad was just diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. He also is taking Coumadin, has GERD and atrial fib. I signed up for your meal plan for him, but it has a lot of bread and cereals in the mornings. We were told that as a diabetic he was allowed basically no carbs. Is this true? If so, what can be substituted for the bread and cereals? Thanks for your help; this is confusing for us, trying to figure out what can be eaten.

Dr. Gourmet Says...

diabetes supplies, including an insulin injector and glucose tester, alongside a bowl of breakfast cereal

I am sorry that you have been confused by the diet teaching your father has received. Being told that he shouldn't eat carbohydrates is completely incorrect.

It is now clear that Mediterranean style diet is the best diet for diabetics. You can read more about the most recent research in my article "The Mediterranean Diet IS a Diabetic Diet!"

When it comes to the choice of carbohydrates, the key messages is that they should be more complex carbohydrates. Great carbohydrate sources include whole wheat bread, high fiber whole grain cereals, whole grain pastas, brown rice, beans, and legumes, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables. Here's a link to the basics of a Mediterranean style diet to help you understand better.

The Dr. Gourmet Diet Plan online meal planner as well as all Dr. Gourmet recipes are based on Mediterranean diet principles and will work well for diabetics.

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP
Dr. Gourmet