If you have had surgery to remove pancreatic cancer, you will have had part of your pancreas removed and may have type 3c diabetes. You may also need to take pancreatic enzymes to digest your food. If the whole pancreas was removed (total pancreatectomy), you will have type 3c diabetes and will need to take insulin for this, as well as enzymes for digestion.

After you have recovered from the surgery, you may find that your appetite improves and you start to put on weight and get stronger. It is recommended to eat a healthy balanced diet that keeps your blood sugar level in your target range, and helps keep you well.

Eating well with type 3c diabetes if you are a healthy weight 

The aim is to eat a diet that you enjoy, that is good for you and that keeps your blood sugar levels in your target range. Be aware that this information is for people who are a healthy weight – it’s not suitable for people who have lost weight.

  • Aim to have 3 normal sized meals a day without many snacks, or 3 small meals with snacks.
  • You may find that if you miss meals it is harder to keep your blood sugar levels within your target range.
  • Be aware of how much sugar you eat, as sugar raises your blood sugar level. If you have a lot of sugary food, try to reduce sugars added to foods and drinks. You could try replacing sugar with sweeteners.
  • Aim to have at least five portions of fruit and/or vegetables a day.
  • If you drink fruit juice, 150ml counts as one of your five a day. Any more than this may cause a rapid rise in your blood sugar level. Have the fruit juice at a mealtime.
  • When you use fat, try to use fats from olive, sunflower, corn and rapeseed oils rather than animal fats such as butter, lard or ghee.
  • Eat regular portions of oily fish, such as herring, salmon, sprats, sardines, mackerel and trout. Aim for 1-2 portions each week.
  • Use small amounts of nuts and seeds as snacks or as part of a meal.
  • Have protein in each of your main meals. Food containing protein include beans, pulses, nuts, seeds, tofu, soya, meat, fish, dairy and eggs.
  • Read the nutritional information on packaged foods. Aim for foods that have low or medium levels of sugar, fat and salt.
  • If you take pancreatic enzymes, make sure you take these when you eat or have milky drinks.
  • If you take tablets or insulin for diabetes, make sure you take these as recommended to manage your blood sugar levels.

The NHS website and Diabetes UK have more information about eating healthily.

Read the rest of our information about managing type 3c diabetes

Questions about diabetes?

If you have any questions about managing diabetes following surgery, speak to your diabetes team.

You can also speak to our specialist nurses on our Support Line.

Speak to our nurses
Specialist nurse Dianne

Read the rest of our information about managing type 3c diabetes.

Managing diabetes if you have pancreatic cancer

Updated June 2023

Review date June 2026