Vitamin B12 and Diabetes

vitamin B12 bottle on the Diabetes Diet
Vitamin B12 Gummies by icethim on flickr. Reproduced thanks to Creative Commons 2.0

In the news this week was an article about Vitamin B12 and its deficiency in those with type 2 diabetes*.

A new study by Nottingham researchers has shown that most people (64 percent of those assessed) people taking metformin (for type 2) were not being routinely tested for levels of vitamin B12 in their bodies. The assessment is needed to check for signs of nerve damage, a painful side effect of diabetes. Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin the body requires to work properly.

The study’s author, Dr Kaenat Mulla from Hucknall Road Medical Centre said: “Current British Society of Haematology guidelines recommend that vitamin B12 levels are checked only when there is clinical suspicion of deficiency. However, peripheral neuropathy is irreversible and it may be too late once symptoms have developed.”

In an article on, she stressed her warning wasn’t intended to discourage people from taking metformin, but she wanted to encourage doctors to monitor vitamin B12 routinely so deficiencies are picked up quickly and can be treated.

Before you all rush to Holland & Barrett to stock up, there are plenty of food sources that are rich in Vitamin B12. And funnily enough, we have a few recipes that feature them… Here’s what you might want to consider.

Liver and kidneys

Animal organ meats are a good source of the vitamin. A lot of people find the taste too strong—and I for one am never going to eat kidneys as their function puts me off—but chicken liver is more delicate than lamb’s for example, and might be more palatable.


Sardines are another source and they are one of the few fish where Omega 3 levels survive the canning process. They are also cheap as chips and packed full of calcium as again the canning process softens the bones enough for you to eat them (and not notice you’re doing so).

Tuna, trout and salmon

More fish products that are super high in vitamin B12. You can find recipes on our site for salmon here and here, and trout here. I prefer trout to salmon as I find the flavour more delicate and it’s a heck of a lot cheaper too.

Dairy products

Milk, plain yoghurt and cheese have decent levels of the vitamin. Make a delicious sweet treat using Greek yoghurt, two teaspoons of good cocoa powder and a tablespoon of granulated sweetener and you’ve got a calcium, protein and magnesium packed pudding. And as for cheese, is there anyone out there who doesn’t love, adore like it? Hard, soft, strong, mild blue or from the cow, goat or sheep, there’s one that suits all. Want to make the most of it? Try our cauliflower cheese, broccoli and Stilton soup or our aubergine and pepper parmigiana.

For more information on vitamin B12 levels in food, check out

*Please note—this article doesn’t constitute medical advice.

Jovina Cooks Italian: Orange Roasted Chicken


Orange Roasted Chicken

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • Zest of 5 bergamot oranges (or ordinary oranges if you can’t get them)
  • 1 cup bergamot orange juice
  • 3 finely minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped herb mixture (rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 (3-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces, bone-in, skin-on
  • ¼ cup butter, softened and room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 bergamot orange, cut into thick slices for garnish
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Herb sprigs for garnish


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine half of the orange zest with the orange juice, garlic, herbs and olive oil. (Set aside the remaining zest for later.)
  2. Stir to combine and pour into a very large zip-lock bag. Add the chicken pieces and move them around to ensure they’re all coated with the marinade.
  3. Seal the bag and place into a bowl (in case it leaks) and then into the refrigerator to marinate for at least 3 hours and up to overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  5. In a mixing bowl, combine the softened butter with the paprika and the remaining orange zest.
  6. Remove the chicken pieces from the bag and place them in a  9 X 13 X 2-inch baking dish. (Set aside the marinade in the bag.)
  7. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper and then using your hands rub the butter mixture under the skin of each chicken piece and on top of the skin.
  8. Pour the marinade over the chicken and add the orange slices. Place the baking dish in the oven and roast the chicken until it’s cooked through, about 45 minutes.
  9. Baste the chicken several times during cooking.
  10. Let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh herbs, if desired.

From Jovina Cooks Italian.

Celeriac Soup – Low-Carb Recipes

The far from pretty celeriac. Darn tasty though...
The far from pretty celeriac. Darn tasty though…

If you love soup as much as I do, I have a treat for you. Celeriac soup – perfect low-carb fodder and just the thing for cold winter days.

In theory, you can buy just about any fruit or vegetable year-round, thanks to the supermarkets. There’s no such concept of seasonality any more.

For some reason though, there are some ingredients that supermarkets in the UK do decide are seasonal and they only stock them at certain times of the year. I’m not complaining about seasonality, but it does bug me that it is inconsistently applied.

Take the humble celeriac, for example. I love celeriac – it’s really delicious and it’s great braised or roasted. You can use it as a potato substitute and it fits in well with low-carb eating. But it can be hard to find and I suspect the supermarkets have a prejudice against it on account of its looks. This ain’t the prettiest vegetable.

Anyway, do try this soup. It’s delicious and brimful of goodness thanks to the home-made stock and tonnes of vegetables.


Celeriac Soup

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • celeriac soup1 whole celeriac, peeled and cut into even-sized cubes
  • 1 leek, washed and chopped
  • 50g butter
  • 1.5 litres fresh chicken stock
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • Salt

Melt the butter in a large sauce/stock pan and add the onions and leeks. Cook for five minutes, stirring from time to time until they have softened. Add the celeriac and garlic and allow the celeriac to brown lightly.

Add the stock, bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer. Cook for 25 minutes or so until the celeriac is fully softened. Blend using a stick blender and season to taste.

Carbs per serving – 22g (for five serving) with 4g of fibre.

Make this a main course soup by adding in some protein – a poached egg, for example or some shredded roast chicken would be nice.

Turkey Burgers – Low Carb

Turkey burgers and a cheeky wee glass of fizz...
Turkey burgers and a cheeky wee glass of fizz…

Fresh from the triumph of the turkey curry, the Diabetes Diet’s love affair with turkey mince continues… Step forward the turkey burger.

The secret of a good turkey burger (or any burger, come to think of it) is plenty of seasoning and this recipe certainly delivers. For added oomph, you could add in some dried chilli flakes but you will probably find you get a nice little kick from the ground black pepper.



Turkey Burgers

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 500g turkey mince
  • 1 small onion, very finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2tbsp Soy or Tamari sauce
  • 2tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Put all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well. It’s easiest to do this with your hands – cleaned of course. You’ll get a fairly wet mixture.
  3. Shape into four burgers and place on a baking tray. Cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes, turning the burgers over half-way through. You want them to be nicely browned.
  4. Serve with a big salad and some cooked vegetables. Fizz optional…

Each burger has roughly 6g of carbs and 2g of fibre. For a low-carb bun option for your burger, check out cavemanketo.

Turkey Curry – Low Carb

turkey curryBridget Jones jokes aside, turkey curry is now a current favourite of mine… It’s really easy to make, and relatively cheap too as turkey mince isn’t highly priced in supermarkets.

I like turkey curry served with broccoli or cauliflower (and if you really want a low-carb curry experience, you can make cauliflower rice, method here).

The quantity makes four servings with about 20g of carbs per portion, 15g not including the fibre.


Low-Carb Turkey Curry

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 500g turkey mince
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 600g tinned tomatoes (1½ tins
  • 100g frozen spinach
  • 40g creamed coconut
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp chilli powder (add more or less depending on your spice tolerance levels)
  1. Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan or wok until hot. Add the onion and fry gently until translucent (about five minutes).
  2. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook for a minute or so before adding the tinned tomatoes and all of the spices.
  3. Chop the creamed coconut into small pieces and stir in. Mix well, bring to a simmer and leave to cook for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  4. Using a hand blender, puree the sauce. (You can leave it chunky if you prefer and you can use the sauce as the base for any curry.)
  5. Now add the turkey mince and the frozen spinach and stir well to blend it all in. Mix well and bring back to a simmer. Allow to cook for 15 minutes.
  6. Serve with broccoli or cauliflower for added veggie goodness.


If you have diabetes, you may well have fungal overgrowth problems (fungi loves a sugary atmosphere) and this dish has several anti-fungal ingredients – garlic, ginger and coconut oil.