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Are Olives Good for Diabetics? What You NEED to Know.

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What kind of olives are good for diabetics? How many olives can a diabetic eat?  If you have recently been diagnosed as diabetic or have elevated blood sugars (ie – prediabetes), you are more than likely questioning everything you eat, including olives.

Are olives diabetic friendly? Are olives low carb? Learn the answers here with the complete guide to olives and diabetes.

But First.

Green olives in a wooden bowl and black olives in a wooden bowl sitting on a white table.

What is Diabetes?

While I can give you intense, scientific definitions, I prefer to follow the KISS principle, ‘keep it simple, silly.’ Basically, diabetes occurs when you do not produce enough insulin OR you are not using insulin as you should. When this happens, too much sugar stays in our blood stream.

3 types of diabetes exist:

  • Type 1 diabetes.
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes.

When Are You Diagnosed as Diabetic? 

According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes is diagnosed when an A1C level is above 6.5%. Prediabetes is diagnosed when the A1C is between 5.7% and 6.4%. 

What about Prediabetes?

As a dietitian, I am noticing a huge increase of prediabetes (or elevated blood sugar) in my clinic. This is where our blood sugar is elevated, but not elevated ‘enough’ for the classic  diabetes diagnosis.

What Causes Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 1 Causes.

Type 1 diabetes is caused when the immune system attacks the beta cells in the pancreas. It is believed type 1 is caused by genes and environmental factors. 

Type 2 Causes.

While we can spend this entire article talking (let’s be honest, some folks love to argue) about the causes of type 2 diabetes, it typically falls into 2 categories.

  • Lifestyle. Diet, Exercise, Sleep patterns, Work.
  • Genes. Family history. Etc.

How Many Individuals Have Diabetes?

According to the Diabetes Research Institute, 37.3 million people (11.3% of the population) have diabetes.

What is the Common Treatment For Diabetes?

As much as I hate to say this, patients are often given a HUGE amount of medicines to help with diabetes. While that is ok for some, it often breaks my heart to see meds handed out with ZERO diet education. As a dietitian and working with 100s of patients, I can honestly tell you a change in diet CAN get you off diabetes medicine and reverse prediabetes.


Can I Reverse Diabetes and Prediabetes?

My professional opinion is that with proper diet (and no, not that moderation diet), activity, and sleep, we can DRASTICALLY reduce our blood sugars out of the diabetes and prediabetes range.


The Diabetes and Prediabetes Diet Guide

While many of us know to cut out the sugar, sweets, sodas, and white carbs (and even some wheat carbs), I focus my diabetes and prediabetes plan on the following:

  • Low glycemic,
  • Low carb, 
  • High fiber, 
  • Lean protein, and
  • High omega-3 rich foods.

While this article focuses on olives and diabetes, when done with this article, you will watch the 10 best foods for prediabetes and weight loss. 

But Let’s Get Down to Business.

Hello Amazing Olives!

Infographic asking the question are olives good for diabetics.

What are Olives?

Did you know olives are classified as the small fruit that grows on olive trees? The actual fruit name, drupes, are cousins to the mango, cherry, peach, almond, and pistachio. 

While olives originated in the Mediterranean, they are also grown in California, Arizona, and New Mexico.

While we think of olives as green or black, immature olives are green and darken as they mature and then turn black as they ripen.

Many varieties of olives exist, and for the purpose of this article I am going to focus on black and green olives (ie – store bought olives). 

Nutrition Facts in Olives.

While we hear time and time again olive oil is a heart-healthy fat, what are the nutrition facts of the actual olive. According to the USDA Food Data Central Search results, the nutrition facts in FIVE (5) medium black olives are as follows:

  • Calories: 20
  • Protein: 0g
  • Fat: 1.5g
  • Total carbohydrate: 1g
  • Fiber 1g
  • Sugar: 0g

Now I know what you are thinking, ‘Shelly, I do not eat just five olives!’ No worries, I feel the say way! I love my olives and let’s keep it real! What is the serving size of olives? Let’s say 10 olives – makes sense right? 

Nutrition Facts of 10 (TEN) Medium Black Olives:

  • Calories: 40
  • Protein: 0g
  • Fat: 3.0g
  • Total carbohydrate: 2g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sugar: 0g

Calories in Olives.

What are the calories in olives? Are olives a low calorie food? As a baseline, I am using the calories in 10 medium olives. Ten olives contain 40 calories. Olives are a low calorie food.

Protein in Olives.

How much protein is in olives? As a baseline, we are going to look at the protein in 10 medium olives. 10 olives contain 0 grams of protein. 

Fiber in Olives.

What is the fiber in olives? Why do we care about fiber? Remember I shared earlier in the article how part of my diabetes and prediabetes plan is to encourage high fiber foods?  Fiber helps to slow down the absorption of blood sugar levels. Let’s look at the fiber in our olives. 10 medium olives contain 2g fiber.

Olive Glycemic Index.

Are olives low on the glycemic index? What is the glycemic index of olives? The glycemic index (GI) of olives equals to 15, which classifies it as a low GI food. 

Shelly, why are we concerned with glycemic index?’ Well…..

Why does the glycemic index matter with diabetics? 

The glycemic index measures how quickly a food causes our blood sugar to rise. Food is ranked on a scale of zero to 100. The higher the glycemic index of food means these foods are quickly digested, absorbed, and causing a fast rise in blood sugar levels. On the other hand, foods low in the glycemic index are absorbed at a lower rate.

The glycemic index (GI) rankings are as follows:

  • Low GI food: Under 50
  • Medium GI food: 56-69
  • High GI food: 70 and higher

Are Olives Low Carb?

What is the carb count in olives? Are olives low in carbs? Using our 10 medium olives as a base, the total carbs in 10 medium olives is 2 grams. 

What are the Net Carbs in Olives?

Net carbs can be a bit of a confusing topic. Don’t let it be! The simple definition of a net carb is the amount of carbs (in a product) that the body converts to sugar. 

Net Carbs = Total Carbs – Dietary Fiber.

The net carbs of 10 medium olives is zero!

Are Olives Keto?

Can you include olives in a keto diet? Are olives ketogenic? Are olives keto friendly? Can I eat olives on Keto? Absolutely! As long as you keep an eye on your carbs, you can include olives in your keto plan. Coming in at 2 grams of carbs in 10 medium olives, you can make a bet that olives are perfect on any keto plan. Be sure to review the label and make sure the ingredient list does not contain any sugar or sugar additives.

Are Olives FODMAP?

Green and black olives are considered low FODMAP however, it is always important to read the labels to make sure the ingredients in the olives you purchase contain no FODMAP containing additives.

Are Olives Gluten Free?

Do olives contain any gluten? Olives are naturally gluten free. Be sure when purchasing any canned OR store bought olives to read the ingredients and make sure no gluten additives are present.

Research on Olives and Diabetes.

While studies exist showing the importance of olive oil in a heart healthy diet, what about the actual olive and diabetes? The good news….

Olives contain a substance called oleuropein. Oleuropein improves glucose transport and increases insulin sensitivity! I know what you are thinking, ‘Simple words Shelly!’ No problem!

Oleuropein can help prevent hyperglycemia or higher blood sugar levels. While more studies are needed on oleuropein, this is a fantastic start! 

Do Olives Raise Blood Sugar?

Do olives spike blood sugar levels? Olives have little effect on your blood sugar levels. With the combination of being a low carb AND a low glycemic index food as well as containing oleuropein, a substance that improves glucose transport, olives will not cause your blood sugar levels to spike. 

Are Olives Good for Type 2 Diabetics?

Can diabetics have olives?  Green or black olives for diabetes? YES to both! In addition to being low carb and low glycemic, olives contain oleuropein, which has been found to keep blood sugar stable!

Are Canned Olives Good for Diabetics?

Can you have canned olives if you are diabetic? Yes! Ok, before you come for me and use the dirty word ‘preservatives,’ do know I always push fresh and frozen foods. HOWEVER, we may go to our local supermarket and see that the fresh olive bar is out of olives. Before you cry, think about this…

While I fully understand the concern of canned foods, do know that NOW most canned vegetables are preserved at the height of their freshness, so they retain more nutrients than you might expect! 

‘But Shelly? Olives are not a vegetable.‘ TRUE! But the olives are canned in the same fashion.

Please, do not beat yourself up if you are buying canned olives. I buy canned olives! (I also shop at Wal-Mart)

How Many Olives Can a Diabetic Eat?

What is the serving size of olives for a diabetic? I love to keep things very simplistic in my clinic. 10 medium olives is my gold standard for the serving size of olives for a diabetic. Why? Ten (10) olives contains 2 grams of carbs. 

What Kind of Olives Are Good for Diabetics?

Are black olives good for diabetics? Green or black olives for diabetics? The simple answer is both!! By sticking with your serving size of 10 olives (2 grams of carbs) you can have black or green olives! Always remember to read the label to make sure your olives have no added sugar or sugar containing ingredients.

Are Olives Good for Prediabetics?

Can prediabetics have olives?  Green or black olives for prediabetes? YES to both! In addition to being low carb and low glycemic, olives contain oleuropein, which has been found to keep blood sugar stable!

Olives for Diabetics: Shopping and Storage.


While olives are found in the produce section in many supermarkets, you can purchase canned or jarred olives. 

If purchasing fresh olives, look for a firm olive that is not mushy or bruised. Look for olives that are ‘submerged’ in the brine.


Once opening up olives, store in the refrigerator, where they will last for 6 weeks.

Are Olives Good for Diabetics? Conclusion.

Are olives safe for diabetics? Are olive good for diabetics? YES! This low carb, low glycemic index, oleuropein-rich food is great for diabetics and prediabetics. If you are diabetic, you want to add olives into your diet. From the dinner table, to snacking on as a 3pm snack, and even reaching for if you are craving sugar, the olive will not spike your insulin levels.

Looking for More on What to Eat if You Are Diabetic

Green Beans and Diabetes: What You Need to Know

Much love, 

Dietitian Shelly

By on September 15th, 2023

About Shelly Marie Redmond

Shelly Marie Redmond, MS, RD, LDN is an award-winning dietitian, author of the Skinny Louisiana cookbook series, and mom of 2. She spends her days counseling individuals with diabetes, prediabetes, PCOS, and hypo/hyperthyroidism. Her passion is developing recipes low on guilt and high on pleasure while improving the health of her patients.

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