Living with diabetes can get tricky when it comes to adjusting your food preferences. When watching your blood sugar and insulin levels, there are various foods that you can no longer indulge in. Even if you have been diagnosed with prediabetes, it is best that you watch out and take note of the list of foods you should avoid. This is so that you can steer clear of developing health ailments like heart disease, kidney disease, and blindness, among other things. The top of the list will have to be carbohydrates as they have the most impact on your blood sugar. When consumed regularly and in large amounts, carbohydrates will cause a spike in your blood sugar levels which will result in many health complications. However, this is all avoidable as long as you know what foods to avoid. Here are 11 foods that people with diabetes should keep away from.
1. Sugar-Sweetened Beverages
The high carbs content in sugar-sweetened beverages will do a lot of harm to your blood sugar levels as they can lead to insulin resistance and belly fat. Insulin is produced by your body to absorb sugar into your cells but with insulin resistance, sugars like glucose and fructose remain in the bloodstream and cause your blood sugar levels to skyrocket. Not to mention that drinking such beverages can lead to significant weight gain that is detrimental for your condition due to the risk of getting fatty liver. Instead of sugar-sweetened beverages, you can opt for naturally sweetened drinks like fruit-flavored water the next time you’re craving something sweet.
2. Trans Fats
Trans Fats are unsaturated fats found in most spreads like peanut butter and margarine as well as frozen dinners and baked goods like cakes. They are a more stable form of fat as hydrogen is added to them. One of their main uses is as a food preservative and they can cause inflammation, insulin resistance, and belly fat. Although more countries are banning the use of trans fats in food products, they still exist and it is imperative that you watch out for them on the ingredients list.
3. White Bread, Pasta and Rice
If you have type one or type two diabetes, consuming wheat products like white bread, pasta and rice will lead to higher blood sugar levels and even decreased brain function. This is because they are high in carbs and low in fiber; what this means is that eating these foods will increase your blood sugar levels while the lack of fiber will make it even harder for sugar to be absorbed into your cells. Regardless of that, you don’t have to completely ditch these food items; simply replace them with high-fiber alternatives and you are good to go.
4. Fruit-Flavored Yogurt
There is a common misconception that yogurt is always a healthier dessert option but this is not true for fruit-flavored yogurt. Despite the fact that it is low in fats, it is full of sugar and carbs. So, the next time you want to eat yogurt, be sure to purchase plain or whole-milk yogurt; you can still derive all the benefits that yogurt can give you while avoiding all the health detriments that come with sugar and carbs.
5. Sweetened Breakfast Cereals
Grabbing a bowl of cereal before you head out in the morning is the easiest way to get your energy fuel without spending much time. However, if you have the habit of eating sweetened breakfast cereals on a daily basis, your blood sugar levels will rise to astronomical levels. This is as they are low in protein and high in carbs. Protein is the nutrient that will give you the fuel you’ll need every day so look for breakfast options that are high in protein for a hearty and healthy meal.
6. Flavored Coffee Drinks
Don’t worry, you don’t have to give up caffeine just to stay healthy. In fact, coffee is one of the best beverages that you should consume if you are diabetic but this is with the exception of flavored ones. Sweetened coffee is loaded with carbs and calories so while it will keep you awake, it will also make you gain more weight. Keep it simple with plain coffee and your blood sugar levels will thank you for it in the long run.
7. Honey, Agave Nectar and Maple Syrup
Besides the usual white and table sugar that you should steer clear from, there is an array of other sweeteners and syrups that are equally bad for you. It is best to avoid sweet delights at all costs but they are not the only culprit as there is also brown sugar, honey, agave nectar and maple syrup which contain just as many carbs. Consuming these forms of sugar not only affects people with type one and two diabetes but people but prediabetes as well; even taking small amounts will go a long way in hiking up your blood sugar levels.
8. Dried Fruit
They may be easier to carry around and eat as a midday snack, but they definitely do not have the same health benefits that fresh fruit do. While you shouldn’t avoid fruit altogether as low-sugar ones like fresh berries are still beneficial for your health, keep dried fruit at bay. Sugar content becomes more concentrated and carb content increases when the fruit is dried; making it relatively unhealthy and damaging to your health.
9. Packaged Snack Foods
Snacks that boast of being the healthier choice may be true for non-diabetics but their high carb count makes them a bad choice for diabetics. Made with refined flour and providing extremely little nutrients, snacks like saltine crackers, pretzels, and graham crackers are not a good snack option between meals; avoid them and choose a low-carb salad or nuts and berries instead.
10. Fruit Juice
You will probably be surprised to know that fruit juice, even unsweetened ones, can contain more sugar than sweetened beverages like soda. Rich in fructose, fruit juice can cause insulin resistance, obesity and heart disease so replace them with plain water and mint or lemon for an equally refreshing taste.
11. French Fries
Potatoes alone are loaded with carbs and the process of making french fries result in high amounts of Advanced glycation end-product (AGEs) and aldehydes which will lead to inflammation and put you at risk of developing various diseases.
Nothing beats keeping yourself healthy, especially when you have diabetes. There are steps you can take to maintain your blood sugar levels and food plays a big part. It might be difficult at first but we guarantee that making some sacrifices in your diet will be rewarding in the long run.