Dr Unwin’s patient diet sheet: ignore the box of chocolates they got as a prize!


So what should I eat to control my weight? A typical diet sheet for diabetes, as provided to Dr Unwin’s patients.

Reduce starchy carbs a lot (remember they are just concentrated sugar). If possible cut out the‘White Stuff’ like bread, pasta, rice – though porridge, new potatoes and oat cakes in moderation may be fine.

Sugar – cut it out altogether, although it will be in the blueberries, strawberries and raspberries you are allowed to eat freely.

Cakes and biscuits are a mixture of sugar and starch that make it almost impossible to avoid food cravings; they just make you hungrier!!

All green veg/salads are fine – eat as much as you can. So that you still eat a good big dinner try substituting veg such as broccoli, courgettes or green beans for your mash, pasta or rice – still covering them with your gravy, Bolognese or curry!

Try home-made soup – it can be taken to work for lunch and microwaved. Mushrooms, tomatoes, and onions can be included in this.

Fruit is trickier; some have too much sugar in and can set those carb cravings off. All berries are great and can be eaten freely; blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, apples and pears too, but not tropical fruits like bananas, oranges, grapes, mangoes or pineapples.

Proteins such as in meat, eggs, fish – particularly oily fish such as salmon, mackerel or tuna –are fine and can be eaten freely. Plain, full-fat yoghurt makes a good breakfast with the berries. Processed meats such as bacon, ham, sausages or salami are not as healthy and should only be eaten in moderation.

Fats (yes, fats can be fine in moderation): olive oil is very useful, butter may be tastier than margarine and could be better for you! Coconut oil is great for stir fries. Four essential vitamins A, D, E and K are only found in some fats or oils. Please avoid margarine, corn oil and vegetable oil.

Beware ‘low fat’ foods. They often have sugar or sweeteners added to make them palatable. Full fat mayonnaise and pesto are definitely on!!

Cheese:  in moderation – it’s a very calorific mixture of fat, and protein.

Snacks: avoid. But un-salted nuts such as almonds or walnuts are great to stave off hunger. The occasional treat of strong dark chocolate 70% or more in small quantity is allowed.


Finally, about sweeteners and what to drink – sweeteners have been proven to tease your brain into being even more hungry, making weight loss almost impossible – drink tea, coffee, and water or herb teas. I’m afraid alcoholic drinks are full of carbohydrate – for example, beer is almost ‘liquid toast’ hence the term “beer belly”! Perhaps the odd glass of red wine wouldn’t be too bad if it doesn’t make you get hungry afterwards – or just plain water with a slice of lemon.

Remember – always check with your doctor or healthcare professional before embarking on a new diet. 

Dr David Unwin FRCGP

16 thoughts on “Dr Unwin’s patient diet sheet: ignore the box of chocolates they got as a prize!”

  1. Hi, I am an electric wheelchair user & used to be 18.5 stones, I did a test to find out what my nemesis was calories or carbs. So I cut out 1 for a couple of months then the other & it turns out to be carbs. I went from 18.5 stones to 13.2 stones in 6 months.
    Unfortunately my circumstances have changed & I am no longer as mobile as back then & my weight has risen from 13.5 stones to 14.2 stones in 18 months. I seem to have plateaued & although I try not to eat badly my weight won’t come off, as a wheelchair user I really don’t want to go back to obese, I can’t use a manual wheelchair anymore due to injuries due to using a manual wheelchair, the irony eh, please help, thanx John


    1. Hi John, sorry to hear of your struggles and I hope you are able to find a way out of the plateau. We can’t provide personal help online as you’re not our patient and we don’t offer that kind of service through this blog, but you might helpful forums where people share their experiences on the likes of diabetes.co.uk. Best wishes, Emma


  2. Hi Emma i have been a diabetic for 20yrs & takeing many tablets has given me more health problems & overweight of coarse, i am desperate to loose the weight because i have just had a total knee opperation & my health is suffering & recovery is slow . My age is 73yrs young ! ? can you help me please . Ann Harris


    1. Hello Ann, sorry to hear about your health problems. I’m not a qualified medical professional and although my colleague is, we are not allowed to offer advice tailored to individuals here. We favour a low-carb approach for treating diabetes, but it is up to the individual and that person should seek the advice of their doctor or diabetes care team first. Best wishes, Emma


  3. Hi. I have been interested in a low carb way of eating for some time but have not yet taken the plunge. However your programme has finally helped me to make my decision and I followed the link to the book to help me get my head around healthy substitutions.
    Unfortunately I can’t see any way of actually purchasing the kindle edition, even at the end of the sample it just gives a link to “learn more” which takes me back to the kindle book page but still no opportunity to buy?


  4. The gentleman with problems with exercise could try the chair exercises in last week’s women’s weekly hope this helps fellow patient trying to lose a stone.Tricia

    Liked by 1 person

  5. hi i feel so confused and poorly i wish i could shut my eyes and not wake up,im going on the low carb diet but dont know how much insulin to take, im type 2 insulin resistant .can i stop my insulin and metformin. dont ask me to go back to my dr please help jackie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Jackie, sorry you are feeling so ill. We can’t give advice for individuals here (that would be unethical and illegal), but you might find other websites where qualified doctors can help if you don’t want to go back to your own doctor. Best wishes, Emma


  6. Hi Emma Can I just check it is not a typing error on Dr Unwin’s diet sheet about fats – “Four essential vitamins A, D, E and K are only found in some fats or oils”. This is not correct. These 4 fat soluble vitamins are found in a lot of other foods that are not fats. For example green leafy vegetables are an excellent source of Vitamin K. But to absorb the Vitamin K, we need to eat fat with it at the same time. I agree with your choices of fats. But just think that statement may be a typo. Many thanks Sue

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Sue, I think it’s meant to be read that the vitamins are found in ‘some’ fats and oils, i.e not all fats and oils, rather than they are only found in fats and oils. Best, Emma


  8. Hi Sue, yes I agree with you. ADEK are the fat soluble vitamins present in many different foods eg vegetables, eggs and offal and some fats. Fat soluble vitamins won’t get absorbed unless your diet contains fat and this is why we recommend dressing your salads with olive oil and buttering your warm vegetables.


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