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T1D Dietitian's Guide to Spanakopita Dosing: Balancing Flavors and Blood Sugars

Jul 14, 2023


a delightful Greek dish, is a favorite for many. However, for individuals with diabetes, understanding its nutritional composition and dosing appropriately can be crucial. 

Let's dissect the key ingredients of Spanakopita and provide dosing insights for a better management of blood sugar levels.

Spanakopita primarily consists of three visible ingredients:


Feta cheese

Phyllo dough


By analyzing each component, we can determine its impact on blood sugar levels.


Spinach is low in carbohydrates and has minimal impact on blood sugar. Therefore, you can enjoy the spinach filling without worrying about any significant rise in your glucose levels.

Feta Cheese 

Feta cheese contains negligible carbs, making it an excellent choice for people with diabetes. Its main contributions are in the form of fat and protein, which have a slower impact on blood sugar.

Phyllo Dough

The phyllo dough, however, contains a substantial amount of carbs. A typical serving of phyllo dough weighs around 30 grams, but it may vary depending on the recipe. For Spanakopita, the serving size is usually smaller, around 25 grams. If you are sharing the dish, adjust the carb count accordingly.

In addition to carbs, it's important to account for the fat and protein content in Spanakopita. The feta cheese and potential olive oil used in the dish contribute to the overall fat content. While fats don't directly impact blood sugar, they can delay the absorption of carbs, leading to a slower rise in glucose levels.

Protein, on the other hand, has a minimal effect on blood sugar. However, it plays a crucial role in satiety and overall nutrition. Therefore, balancing the intake of fat, protein, and carbs is essential for stable blood sugar management.

When consuming Spanakopita or any meal with a combination of fat, protein, and carbs, it's important to consider the timing of your insulin doses. The impact on blood sugar levels may occur hours after the meal, ranging from 2 to 6 or 7 hours, depending on the individual and the specific food consumed.

To address this delayed impact, an extended bolus (also known as a dual wave or square wave bolus) can be useful. This involves delivering insulin over an extended period, allowing it to better match the digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Understanding the nutritional components of your meals is vital for effective blood sugar management, especially for individuals with diabetes. Spanakopita, with its combination of spinach, feta cheese, and phyllo dough, requires careful consideration and appropriate dosing.

By accounting for the carb content in the phyllo dough, monitoring fat and protein intake, and considering the timing of your insulin doses, you can enjoy Spanakopita while maintaining stable blood sugar levels. 

If you have specific concerns about food and diabetes, reach out to our team of dietitians for personalized assistance. Remember, with the right knowledge and support, you can confidently manage your blood sugar levels while enjoying a variety of delicious foods. 

If you found this breakdown helpful, we encourage you to leave a comment with suggestions for other dishes you'd like us to analyze. 


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