Insulinoma Support Network
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Insulinoma diet

Insulinoma diet

What should I eat if I have an insulinoma?

Insulinomas are rare tumours, therefore there is very little research or existing evidence regarding diet in this condition. Although diet cannot control the release of insulin from the tumour, it can help prevent low blood sugars. People with insulinomas tend to suffer from low blood sugar levels until the tumour has been treated to stop it releasing excess insulin. If you are losing weight, please ask to see a dietician.

Glycaemic index

The glycaemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly foods that contain carbohydrates will raise blood sugar levels. Foods are given a GI number or classed as low, medium or high GI.

Low GI carbohydrates are released slowly into the blood and therefore are able to maintain blood glucose levels for longer. It is recommended that you try to choose low GI carbohydrates as much as possible during the day to prevent sharp peaks and troughs in your blood sugars.

High GI carbohydrates are released very quickly into the blood and are very useful when you are experiencing a hypoglycaemic (very low blood sugar) episode.

How to switch to a low GI diet 

  • Eat breakfast cereals based on oats, bran and wholegrain wheat e.g. All Bran Flakes, porridge.
  • Use breads with wholegrain, stone ground flour or sour dough e.g. multigrain, wholemeal, soya and linseed, pumpernickel
  • Include pasta, noodles, pearl barley or quinoa.
  • Choose new potatoes, sweet potatoes or yam in preference to other potatoes.
  • Leave the skins on if you can.
  • Eat plenty of vegetables and salads.
  • Add beans, lentils and other pulses to soups, stews, salads and other dishes.
  • Use basmati or long grain rice, rather than Thai, jasmine, sticky or short grain rice.
  • Choose grainy crackers and crisp breads e.g. Ryvita Seeded, oatcakes.

Tips for Low GI meal choices:

Breakfast

  • Muesli*, All Bran, Sultana Bran, Special K
  • Oat-based breakfast cereal and fruit

Lunch

  • Baked beans with jacket potato
  • Lentil-based soup
  • Variety of breads: pitta bread, breads made with mixed grains and pumpernickel
  • Grilled chicken, salad, basmati rice and peas

Evening meal

  • Basmati rice, sweet potato, buckwheat, bulgar wheat, pearl barley, noodles
  • Vegetables with meal
  • Pasta-based meals
  • Beans and pulses (dahl)

Snacks

  • Fruit
  • Yoghurt (low fat)
  • Popcorn
  • Rye bread, fruit loaf*
  • Nuts*

*These foods can have a higher fat content, therefore consume in moderation if you are trying to lose weight.