This study sought to characterize 40 clients with diabetes, 19 of whom adhered to a high-carbohydrate/fiber diet and 21 of whom did not, in accordance with the adherence pattern. There would seem to be distinct differences in the characteristics of adherers and non-adherers. Dietary adherence was found to be independent for sex, age, occupation, marital status, ethnicity, and education. However, comparison of the groups' health and dietary perceptions showed that non-adherers, as opposed to adherers, were not concerned about reaching their ideal body weight; needed to be motivated to exercise by family or friends; did not perceive diabetes as a threat to their health; were not satisfied with their knowledge about diabetes; were not content with their nutrient status but believed they were consuming adequate amounts of carbohydrate; and believed that they did not need to change their intake of fruit, vegetables, and bread--liking/disliking of these foods being the most important barrier to dietary change. Such patients, identified in screening for potential dietary non-adherence, may benefit from the use of educational strategies different from those used with patients who are more oriented toward health.