Fact sheetDiet specifications

Published on 1 Oct 2016 ; Partial revision Apr 2021

Diabetes diet - higher energy

This document is part of the ACI Diet Specifications for Adult Inpatients. It is not to be used for patient education.


To provide a diet that supports blood glucose management while providing a higher energy density than the Diabetes diet.


Moderately high energy and a moderately even spread of carbohydrate per meal (30–75g per main meal; 15–30g per mid-meal). Includes at least one low-glycaemic-index option (GI <55) at each meal and snack. Default meals should provide a minimum of two carbohydrate portions. Default mid-meals should provide one carbohydrate portion (e.g. half sandwich or one portion-control pack of two plain biscuits). The fat and protein level of this diet is higher than that of the Diabetes diet with preference for mono and polyunsaturated fats.


For patients with diabetes who:

  • are malnourished
  • are at risk of malnutrition
  • are eating poorly
  • have higher energy needs.

Nutritional adequacy

Nutritionally inadequate.


Generally not suitable for patients with unstable insulin-requiring diabetes or for women with diabetes in pregnancy (see separate diet specifications: Diabetes and Diabetes in pregnancy).

It is appropriate to serve patients with diabetes from regular unrestricted menus. Special sugar-free and diabetic foods are not required, but artificial sweeteners are offered with tea and coffee to support patient choice.


Suitable for use in paediatrics when combined with age-appropriate diet.

Specific menu planning guidelines

Allowed Not allowed
Hot main dishes Dishes with ≤60g carbohydrate per serve.

Fatty meat (e.g. bacon, sausages, hamburger mince), offal

Dishes cooked in saturated fat (e.g. shortening, lard, palm oil, coconut milk)

Sauces, gravies All -
Starchy vegetables / pasta / rice All, including high-protein mashed potato -
Vegetables All, including steamed, boiled, or fried or roasted with mono or polyunsaturated fat -
Soups All -

All, preferably made with monounsaturated margarine, but polyunsaturated margarine and butter also allowed

All breads, including low-GI breads (see GI website for full list)

Salads, dressings All -
Breads, cereals

All breads, including low-GI choices (see GI website for full list)

Breakfast cereals with <30% sugar, unless primarily from fruit; at least two low-GI options per breakfast (see GI website for full list)

Breakfast cereals with >30% sugar, unless primarily from fruit

Jam, yeast spread, honey, peanut butter Preferably monounsaturated margarines, oils and mayonnaise, but polyunsaturated also allowed


Hot breakfast choices All -
Fruit All -
Yoghurt All -
Desserts All desserts with ≤45g carbohydrate per serve, which may include regular jelly and jellied fruit -
Milk and cheese All, including flavoured milk -

Water, milk, tea, coffee, low-joule soft drinks and cordial, plain mineral water

Fruit juice with no added sugar (maximum 2 serves per day)

Regular soft drinks, cordial
Biscuits All -

All herbs and spices, nuts

Sugar (maximum 1 sachet per meal and midmeal allowable)

Salt, pepper

Artificial sweeteners


Potato crisps

Chocolate bars

Celebratory Foods/
Special Occasions

20g chocolate easter eggs on Easter Sunday


  1. American Diabetes Association. Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes – 2016 Abridged for Primary Care Providers. Clinical Diabetes. 2016;34(1):3-21.
  2. Glycemic Index Foundation, University of Sydney. The GI Index and GI database. [accessed 12 Ocober 2015].
  3. Dietitians Association of Australia. Nutrition manual. 9th ed. Canberra: DAA; 2014.

Change log

Change date Section updatedChange
April 2021 Title of Specification Title changed from Diabetic diet - diabetes in pregnancy to Diabetes diets - diabetes in pregnancy
September 2022 Specific menu planning guidelines Created a new food group row under Miscellaneous, titled Celebratory Foods / Special Occasions
September 2022 Specific menu planning guidelines -
Celebratory Foods / Special Occasions
In Allowed, added 20g chocolate easter eggs on Easter Sunday
Back to top