A large part of keeping your diabetes in control is about making the right food choices. If you have diabetes, a general rule to follow is to stay off foods that are high in sugar. However, some foods and drinks may appear to be healthy options but might contain hidden sugar and fats. And it’s not just sugar you need to watch out for as increased carbs and fats in your diet may also contribute to higher blood sugar levels. Too confusing? Here’s a list of 20 foods that you need to avoid if you have diabetes.
20 Foods To Stay Away From
1. Dried Fruit
The high fiber content and nutrients might make dried fruit look like a healthy option but you might want to reconsider if your have Type 2 diabetes. Dried fruit undergoes dehydration which causes it’s natural sugars to get very concentrated. Though it’s a better snacking option when compared to cookies, it will still send your blood sugar soaring. Just have some fresh fruit like strawberries or grapefruit instead.
2. White Rice, Bread, And Flour
While most diabetics are wary of sugar, they usually don’t keep a tab on eating carbs. Low quality carbs like rice and foods made with white flour, like bread and pasta, act similar to sugar once the digestive process begins. This means that they with interfere with body’s glucose levels. Switching to whole grains such as oatmeal, barley, and brown rice will help in keeping the bad carbs in check.
3. Full-Fat Dairy
Most people know that full-fat dairy products contain saturated fat that can increase your bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase the risk of heart disease. As a diabetic, you should also avoid dairy products like cream, full-fat yogurt, ice-cream, and cream cheese that’s made with whole milk. The reason being saturated fats have also been found to increase insulin resistance. This does not mean you need to give up on dairy products completely. Look for low-fat or fat-free dairy products the next time you shop.
4. Fatty Cuts Of Meat
Avoid fatty meats for the same reason as whole-milk products. They too are high in saturated fats which increase cholesterol and can cause inflammation throughout the body while putting a person with diabetes at greater risk of heart disease. Change your protein from fat cuts to lean proteins like skinless chicken and turkey, pork tenderloin, lean beef, and fish
5. Breakfast Pastries
As tempting as they may be, baked products like pastries, muffins, doughnuts, and cinnamon rolls are made from processed white flour which is high in carbs, sugar, and fat. They also have high quantities of sodium and may contain trans fats. If you absolutely must have them, look for fat-free or sugar-free options. The best option would be to home-make them with healthy ingredients
6. Fried Foods
Fried foods in general are not good for your body and if you have type 2 diabetes, giving into eating french fries, potato chips, fried chicken and other deep fried foods is a big no. These foods soak in a lot of oil and in many cases are coated with breading that increases the calorie count even more. Also, many fast food restaurants fry food in hydrogenated oils that have high trans fats. There is no safe limit on the consumption of trans fats and diabetics need to be much more careful about such food.
Alcohol can interfere with your blood-sugar levels and if you have diabetes, it’s best to check with your doctor on how much alcohol is safe for you to consume. Even if you are at a social event and it seems only polite to accept a drink, have alcohol in moderation which is mot more than one serving for women and two for men. One serving: 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1 ½ ounces of liquor.
8. Fruit Juice
Packed with fiber and healthy carbs, fruits are a great option for someone with diabetes but when it comes to fruit juice, you may want to reconsider. While it’s more nutritious than soda and other sugary drinks, juices contain concentrated fruit sugar that causes your blood sugar to spike. If you’re craving for a refreshing drink, just grab a natural-flavor seltzer instead.
9. Sugary Foods
Most sugary foods like soda, candy, and desserts contain high amounts of sugar that is classified as low-quality carbohydrates. They have low nutritional value and lead to steep jump in your blood sugar. The best way to quell your craving would be to have some fresh fruit instead of gulping down soda or reaching for the cookie jar.
Cereal is the most convenient option when it comes to breakfast but regardless of the health claims made on the pack, do make it a point to dig deeper. Most off-the-shelf cereals contain added sugar or are coated with sugar to make them taste better. When you buy cereal, make sure you read the label to check for added sugar or dried fruit which is also sugar-heavy.
11. Energy Bars
Sports or energy bars are not completely bad but a diabetics need to be more careful about their food choices. Carbs and sugars are the two main sources of energy for your body and sports bars may have more of it than is good for your body. Go for bars that have a good balance of protein and carbs with minimum fat and sugars.
12. Bananas And Melons
Most fruits are packed with vitamins, fiber, and good carbs which can be a part of your daily diet. However, some fruits are more sugary than others and may end up increasing your blood sugar levels. Bananas, melons, and stone fruits like peaches have relatively higher sugar content and may affect your blood sugar level.
13. Blended Coffees
Blended coffees are a popular beverage but they contain syrup, sugar, whipped cream, and toppings that are heavy on sugar and fat. Stick to a simple cup of sugar-free coffee with low-fat milk to satiate your caffeine urges. It may not taste as rich but your body will surely thank you for it.
14. Processed Meat
A simple salami sandwich for lunch might not be as safe as you think. Processed meats are full of sodium and a diet loaded with salt is associated with double the risk of heart attack or stroke in people with type 2 diabetes. Reduce your sodium intake by slicing home-roasted or ask your deli for meats lower in sodium. Also take care to use toppings that are not heavy on carbs and fats. Use spinach, cucumbers, and mustard to dress your sandwiches instead.
15. Purchased Smoothies
Smoothies have earned a reputation of being healthier than many other beverages that are available today. However, what you don’t realize is smoothies usually contain added sugar and are served in extra-large portion sizes. Having diabetes means making healthy choices and lifestyle changes. So put that blender to good use and whip a healthy smoothie at home.
16. Chinese Food
Unfortunately, everyone’s favorite take out food does not make the cut when it comes to food for diabetics. Chinese food is high-calorie, high fat, high-sodium, and high-carb. It can spike your blood sugar sharply and keep it high for a while. Top on the list on offenders are fried entrees such as orange chicken and sweet and sour dishes with sugary sauce.
17. Flavored Water
Flavored water often comes across as a choice that’s tastes better than pain water and is healthier than soda. While that could be true to some extent, flavored water does have hidden sugar and carbs that are best avoided. Although the overall sugar content may be lower than soda, drinking the whole bottle means having a lot more sugar than is good for you.
18. Frozen/Commercial Pizza
Pizza is probably the most preferred comfort food in America. It tastes delicious and with so many pizza delivery places, getting one whenever you want is extremely convenient. The bad news is that many commercially made pizzas are high on calories that can dent your diet in just one slice. So make a smart choice by choosing your toppings carefully or just make one a home with fresh herbs and veggies.
The signature Mexican food that has made its way into almost every American’s diet. Whether you’re having them as an appetizer or a meal, most restaurant nachos have calories that often exceed that of a usual meal. A regular order of Chili’s Classic Nachos has 830 calories, 59 grams of fat, and 39 grams of carbs. So nachos don’t really make the cut when it comes to food for diabetics.
20. Restaurant Hamburgers
Yes. Another American food icon is on this list and for good reason. The huge, cheese-filled burger can be laden with saturated fat that’s responsible for bumping up your cholesterol. Before you jump the gun, you don’t need to give up on hamburgers completely. The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat to 7 percent of your total daily calories. Just look at the nutritional information before ordering your burger or ask the chef to go easy on the fats.
Living a normal life with diabetes may look difficult but once learn about the dos and don’ts, managing your blood sugar is a matter of eating right and listening to your body.