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Are Fried Chicken Wings Bad for Diabetics?

For those with diabetes, monitoring carbohydrate intake and blood sugar levels is an everyday necessity. Fried foods like chicken wings are often seen as off-limits, but in moderation they can be part of a healthy diet for diabetics. Here’s what you need to know about eating fried chicken wings if you have diabetes.

Are fried chicken wings bad for diabetics?

Fried chicken wings are not inherently bad for diabetics in moderation, but they can raise blood sugar levels if eaten in excess. The main concern with fried foods for diabetics is the potential effect on blood sugar levels. Chicken wings become a problem if they are fried in oil high in trans and saturated fats, breaded with carbohydrate-rich coatings, and eaten in excessive quantities.

However, fried chicken wings can be a reasonably healthy option for diabetics when care is taken to minimize risks:

    • Use healthier frying oils like avocado, peanut or olive oil instead of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to avoid trans fats.
    • Opt for lighter breading with whole grain flour instead of heavy batters. Panko breadcrumbs are a better choice than cornmeal for example.
    • Portion control is key – stick to 2-3 wings total as a side rather than an entire platter. Moderation is important.
    • Balance wings with non-starchy vegetables like celery and carrots to help maintain stable blood sugar.
    • Choose baked, grilled or air-fried wings when possible rather than heavy deep frying. This reduces overall fat and carb content.
    • Check blood sugar levels 1-2 hours after eating wings to see individual response and take insulin accordingly.
    • Stay hydrated with water which helps digest and metabolize fats and carbs.


With attention to preparation, reasonable portions, smart pairing with other foods, and testing to see personal glycemic response, enjoying an occasional serving of chicken wings can be an option for many diabetics without adversely impacting blood sugar management. Moderation and mindfulness are key.

Related post: Are fried chicken tenders gluten free?

Will eating fried chicken raise blood sugar?

Yes, fried chicken can affect blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. The exact impact varies based on the ingredients, cooking method, and quantity consumed, but there are several factors that cause fried chicken to have a significant effect on blood glucose:

    • Carbohydrates from breading/batter – Materials like flour, breadcrumbs or cornmeal used to coat fried chicken are high in carbohydrates that break down into glucose during digestion. This can rapidly impact blood sugar.
    • Saturated fat content – Frying chicken leads to high saturated fat absorption, which can slow down stomach emptying and the conversion of carbs into blood glucose. This delayed spike often catches diabetics off guard.
    • Trans fats from oil reuse – Repeatedly reheating cooking oils to fry chicken can generate trans fats, which promote insulin resistance and increased blood sugar levels.
    • Large portions – Eating multiple pieces of fried chicken in a single sitting means consuming a high level of carbs and fat that can overwhelm the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar through insulin response.


The exact blood sugar spiking effect varies based on the specific preparation method, portions, and individual response. Air fried or baked chicken tend to cause less spike compared to heavily breaded, deep fried chicken. Smaller 3-4 oz portions also reduce risk.

In general, the carbohydrate, fat, and calorie density of fried chicken significantly raises the probability of an out-of-range blood sugar spike for diabetics compared to grilled or roasted chicken. Checking glucose levels 1-2 hours after consuming fried chicken can quantify your body’s response.

In summary, the combination of carbs, saturated fat, and trans fats makes fried chicken a very high glycemic food with the potential to cause major blood sugar spikes in people with diabetes if not carefully managed. Portion control and moderation is key.

Moderation is Key

In moderation though, chicken wings likely won’t cause significant issues for most diabetics. The key is portion control and not overdoing it:

    • Stick to just 2-3 wings as a side rather than an entire platter.
    • Avoid “all you can eat” wing nights.
    • Remove the skin or ask for grilled instead of fried.
    • Opt for wings cooked in an air fryer rather than deep fried.
    • Pair wings with non-starchy vegetables like celery and carrots.
    • Test blood sugar levels 1-2 hours after eating to see your individual response.
    • Take insulin or medication as prescribed to help manage any spike.
    • Stay hydrated by drinking water.


As with any food, it’s all about balance. Fried chicken wings now and then as part of a healthy diabetes diet shouldn’t pose major problems. Just be mindful of portions and your body’s response.

The bottom line is that enjoying some fried chicken wings can absolutely be an option for those with diabetes. Paying attention to portions, preparation methods, and your body’s unique response is key to balancing your blood sugar levels. With some mindfulness, wings can be on the menu.

Can diabetics eat buffalo wings?

Yes, those with diabetes can eat buffalo wings in moderation. Go easy on high-carb dipping sauces and pair them with non-starchy veggies to help manage blood sugar response.

Do chicken wings spike insulin?

For some diabetics, the carbohydrates in the breading may cause a moderate spike in blood sugar and therefore insulin levels after eating. Opting for grilled wings helps reduce this effect. Portion control is also key.

Is deep-fried food completely off limits?

Not necessarily. Occasional deep-fried treats like wings can fit into a healthy diabetes diet in moderation. Focus on small portions, less frequent indulgences, and pairing with lower carb sides and plenty of water.


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