People with diabetes have high blood sugar levels. This is because their bodies do not make or use insulin effectively. If you are a diabetic, you should watch what you eat and how much you eat.
Reducing calories is important in diabetes management. But, making wise food choices, can help you keep your blood sugar level within your target range.
While moderation is vital in many cases, there are some foods you may want to avoid.
10 Foods to Avoid with Diabetes
1. Dried Fruit
Although dried fruit contains many nutrients and fiber, the dehydration process causes the fruits’ natural sugars to get super-concentrated. While snacking on dried apricots or raisins is better for you than eating a cookie, it will still send your blood sugar soaring.
Skip the dried fruit, and instead choose fresh fruit options, including cantaloupe, grapefruit, peaches and strawberries.
2. Flavored Coffee Drinks
Foods that contain lots of extra sugars are not the best choice for diabetics. Those blended coffee drinks are tempting for a reason, these are full of whipped cream, sugar and syrups, that could send increase your blood sugar.
3. High-Fats Cut of Meat
Avoid high-fat cuts of meat as they are high in saturated fats. Saturated fats in meat raise your cholesterol and promote inflammation throughout your body. Also, it can put people with diabetes at an even greater risk of heart disease, as compared to the average person, since their risk is already elevated as a result of diabetes.
You can choose lean proteins, including turkey, skinless chicken, shellfish, fish, lean beef and pork tenderloin.
4. Fried Foods
Reducing consumption of fried chicken, french fries, fried dough, potato chips and the like, will be better for your health in the long run. Fried foods soak up tons of oil, which means lots of extra calories. Also the coated breading, increases the numbers even more.
Overdoing the greasy fried foods, can pack on the pounds and cause blood-sugar chaos. Some foods are deep-fried in hydrogenated oils that are laden with unhealthy trans fats. These trans fats will raise your LDL or “bad” cholesterol, lower your HDL or good cholesterol, and increase your risk of heart disease.
There is no amount of trans fats that you can safely include in your diet, most especially if you have type 2 diabetes.
5. Full-Fat Dairy Products
Foods with a high saturated fat content are hard on your circulatory system and arteries. You can swap high-fat dairy products, such as ice cream and sour cream for the reduced-fat or fat-free versions.
Always remember that sometimes reducing the fat means increasing the sugar, therefore always check out nutrition facts labels.
6. Fruit Juice
Fruit juice is often considered a healthy beverage, though its effects on your blood sugar are actually similar to those of sodas and other sugary drinks.
This goes for unsweetened 100% fruit juice and other types that contain added sugar. In some cases, fruit juice contains even higher sugar and carbs than soda.
For example, an 8 ounces or 250 ml of unsweetened apple juice and soda contain 24 grams of sugar each. An equivalent serving of grape juice contains 32 grams of sugar.
Similar to sugar-sweetened beverages, fruit juice is loaded with fructose, the type of sugar that drives obesity, insulin resistance and heart disease.
A better alternative is to enjoy water with a slice of lemon, that provides less than 1 gram of carbs and is virtually calorie-free.
7. Processed Foods
Processed foods have little or no nutritional value. Moreover, they are filled with sodium, sugar, additives, trans-fats, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, coloring and other chemicals which brings havoc to the already damaged metabolic systems of diabetics.
It is the proliferation of processed foods in the market, that characterize the typical modern Western diet which has brought about the rates of Type 2 diabetes, strokes, heart disease, cancer and hypertension.
Processed foods contain high levels of advanced glycation end-products or AGEs which cause oxidative stress and inflammation, which damages cells and tissues in the body promoting Type 2 diabetes and causing insulin resistance.
8. Pasta, White Bread and Rice
Pasta, white bread and rice are high-carb, processed foods. Consuming bagels, bread and other refined-flour foods has been known to significantly increase blood sugar levels in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Also, in another study, gluten-free pastas were also shown to increase blood sugar, with rice-based types having the greatest effect.
Another study found that high-carb bagel not only raised blood sugar level, but also decreased brain function in individuals with type 2 diabetes and mental deficits.
These processed foods contain little fiber, and this helps slow down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.
9. Root Vegetables
For individuals with diabetes or prediabetes, eating root vegetables and tubers like sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, turnips, taro and yams are problematic because of the concentrated sources of sugar, starch and low amounts of fiber in these foods. These foods will cause insulin spikes. If you are already a diabetic or have prediabetes, you need to avoid them.
The glycemic indexes of root vegetables and tubers range from moderate to high. The ones with the lowest glycemic index are carrots, yams and sweet potatoes with their GI at 38, 47 and 55 respectively.
10. Sugary Foods
Sweets, sodas, desserts and other foods that are made primarily of sugar are considered low-quality carbohydrates. These foods are lacking in nutritional value, and can also cause a sharp spike in your blood sugar level and lead to weight problems, both of which can exacerbate diabetes complications.
Instead of satisfying your sweet tooth with candies, cookies, soda or cake, choose fruits, such as berries, apples, pears or oranges. These high-quality carbohydrates are rich in fiber, which helps slow down the absorption of glucose. Therefore, they are a far better choice for blood-sugar control.