Can Diabetics Eat Corned Beef? What You Need to Know


If you have diabetes, you may wonder if you can still enjoy classic dishes like corned beef and cabbage.


Corned beef is a popular meat, especially around St. Patrick’s Day. But it’s also known for being high in sodium and fat.

As a diabetic, you have to be careful about what you eat. Too much sodium, fat, and sugar can cause problems.

They can make your blood sugar go up and increase your risk of heart disease.


Can Diabetics Eat Corned Beef?

Can Diabetics Eat Corned Beef

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So can you eat corned beef if you’re diabetic? The answer is: that it depends.

Let’s take a closer look at corned beef and how it fits into a diabetes-friendly diet.

What is Corned Beef?

First, let’s talk about what corned beef is. Corned beef is made from beef brisket that has been cured in a brine solution.


The brine contains salt, sugar, and spices like peppercorns, bay leaves, and mustard seeds.

The beef sits in the brine for several days. This curing process is what gives corned beef its distinctive salty, slightly sweet flavor and pink color.

After curing, the corned beef is cooked until it’s very tender.

Nutrition Facts for Corned Beef

A 3-ounce serving of corned beef contains:

  • Calories: 210
  • Protein: 15 grams
  • Fat: 16 grams
  • Saturated fat: 5 grams
  • Sodium: 850 milligrams
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams

As you can see, corned beef is high in protein but also very high in sodium and fat. It has no carbohydrates, fiber, or sugar.

Is Corned Beef and Cabbage Good for Diabetics?

The high sodium and fat content in corned beef can be concerning for diabetics. Here’s why:

  • Sodium: Too much sodium can raise your blood pressure. High blood pressure increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease. These risks are already higher if you have diabetes.
  • Saturated Fat: Eating too much-saturated fat can raise your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels. High LDL cholesterol also increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.

However, this doesn’t mean you can never eat corned beef. The key is moderation. Having corned beef as an occasional treat is okay, as long as you’re making healthy choices most of the time.

Low-Sodium Options

If you love corned beef and want to include it in your diet, look for low-sodium options. Some brands offer corned beef that has 25-30% less sodium than regular corned beef.


You can also make your corned beef at home using less salt in the brine. This way, you can control how much sodium goes into your meat.

Serving Size Matters

Watching your portion sizes is important for managing diabetes. Even if you choose a low-sodium corned beef, eating too much can still cause problems.

Stick to a 3-ounce serving, which is about the size of a deck of cards. Fill the rest of your plate with non-starchy vegetables like:

  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Green beans

Lean Meats for Diabetics

In general, diabetics should choose lean meats most of the time. Lean meats are lower in saturated fat and calories. Good options include:

  • Chicken breast (without skin)
  • Turkey breast
  • Pork tenderloin
  • Sirloin steak
  • Lean ground beef (90% lean or higher)

Meats to Limit or Avoid

Some meats are higher in saturated fat and should be limited or avoided, especially if you have diabetes:

  • Bacon
  • Sausage
  • Hot dogs
  • Regular ground beef
  • Fatty cuts of steak (ribeye, T-bone)
  • Chicken with skin
  • Duck
  • Goose

Plant-Based Protein Options

You don’t have to rely on meat to get enough protein. Many delicious plant-based protein sources are great for diabetics:

  • Beans (black, kidney, pinto, etc.)
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Edamame
  • Nuts and nut butter
  • Seeds (chia, hemp, flax)
  • Whole grains (quinoa, oats, brown rice)

These plant proteins are not only lower in fat and calories, but they also contain fiber. Fiber helps control blood sugar levels and keeps you feeling full longer.

Cooking Methods Matter

How you prepare your corned beef (or any meat) also makes a difference. Grilling, roasting, broiling, and baking are healthier cooking methods. They don’t add extra fat the way frying does.


If you’re making corned beef and cabbage, try using less meat and more vegetables. This cuts down on sodium and fat while boosting fiber and nutrients.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can diabetics eat deli meat?

Deli meats like ham, turkey, and roast beef can be part of a diabetes diet. But choose low-sodium versions and watch your portion sizes. Avoid high-fat meats like salami and bologna.

  • Is corned beef high in carbs?

No, corned beef itself does not contain any carbohydrates. However, it’s often served with high-carb foods like potatoes and bread. Choose low-carb sides like extra veggies instead.

  • Can I eat corned beef if I have high blood pressure?

If you have high blood pressure, it’s best to limit or avoid corned beef due to its high sodium content. Look for low-sodium options or choose leaner meats instead.

  • Is it okay to eat corned beef once in a while?

Yes, enjoying corned beef occasionally is fine, even if you have diabetes. Just don’t make it a regular habit. Balance it out with plenty of non-starchy vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains most of the time.

Also Check: Benefits of Olive Oil for Healthier, More Radiant Skin


So, can diabetics eat corned beef? The answer is yes but in moderation. Corned beef is high in sodium and fat, which can be problematic for people with diabetes. However, having it as an occasional treat is okay.


If you do choose to eat corned beef, look for low-sodium options and watch your portion sizes. Pair it with plenty of non-starchy vegetables for a balanced meal.

Remember, the best way to manage diabetes is to eat a variety of nutrient-dense, whole foods.

Focus on lean proteins, healthy fats, non-starchy vegetables, and whole grains. And don’t forget to stay active and manage your stress levels.

With a little planning and creativity, you can enjoy delicious meals (including the occasional corned beef) while still taking good care of your health. Happy eating!


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