If you are diabetic or have high blood sugar levels, you might have already started controlling your diet. People who have high blood sugar levels are asked to avoid most fast foods, high-calorie foods, and are asked to take their meals in controlled portions. But what’s going on when you find that your blood sugar levels are high despite your healthy diet? Chances are that you’re unknowingly consuming foods high in sugar and starch on the basis that they are “healthy”. Here is a list of “healthy” foods that you may want to limit or avoid if you’re concerned about your blood sugar.
1. Starchy Vegetables
Vegetables are nutritious and should be included in every meal but if you have high blood sugar levels, it’s best you avoid those that are high in starch and carbohydrates. According to the American Diabetic Association, parsnip, plantain, potato, pumpkin, acorn squash, butternut squash, and corn are all vegetables that raise blood glucose levels. Apart from these veggies, beets and some varieties of legumes like beans can cause an increase in blood sugar levels as well.
2. High-Fructose Fruits
Fruits are great especially as a dessert option for people who don’t want to risk having too much added sugar. Although most fruits are safe when it comes to blood sugar levels, it is advisable to limit intake of high-fructose fruits like apples, cherries, mangoes, watermelons and pears. Apart from this, it is essential to note that when fruits are dried, their sugar concentration increases. Therefore always opt for fresh fruit over dried ones when the option is available.
3. Honey and Agave Nectar
Many people use honey or agave nectar as an alternative to regular white sugar. But as it turns out, a few studies have shown that there is no significant difference in using it as an alternative. Both honey and regular sugar have almost the same effect on blood sugar levels. Another factor to note is that these sweeteners may contain more carbs than regular sugar and it’s important to consume it in limited amounts.
4. Fruit Juice
According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School Of Public Health, “Fruit juice has vitamins, but it is high in calories from concentrated fruit sugars, so stick to no more than a small glass (four to six ounces) a day. If you’re in the mood for fruit, enjoy a whole piece of fruit which is much lower in sugars than its juice equivalent and contains the added benefit of fiber.”
5. High Carb Processed Foods
Studies have found that processed foods may contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. According to the American Diabetic Association, “Research suggests that tasty chemicals in processed food called advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) may trigger inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, damaging tissues and causing insulin resistance.” Completely cutting out processed foods might not be easy to do but, if you have high blood sugar, it is advisable that you take out the high carb processed foods from your menu. This includes white pasta, white bread and rice. Another processed food to be weary of is breakfast cereals. Most breakfast cereals contain very less protein which will make you feel hungry sooner than you might expect. It’s better to opt for whole-grain, high protein and low-carb food options.
6. Sweetened Or Flavored Yogurt
Yogurt is a great high protein snack for people with diabetes as long as it’s low fat and unflavored. Flavored yogurt contains large amounts of calories and added sugar even if they claim to be “fruit flavored”. If you’re concerned about your blood sugar, ensure that you get your hands on plain yogurt. Extra points if it’s organic or homemade.
7. Store-Bought Coffee
Coffee is known to reduce risk of type 2 diabetes and it may also help improve insulin sensitivity. According to a study published in the Harvard T.H. Chan School Of Public Health, “caffeinated coffee reduced type 2 diabetes risk by 4% and decaffeinated reduced the risk by 7%. This suggests that a component of coffee independent of caffeine, perhaps antioxidants found in both regular coffee and decaf, is responsible for the decrease in type 2 diabetes risk.” So coffee is great. But the calorie count in store-bought coffee drinks that contain added sugar and cream is off the charts. Many people assume they are making a healthy choice as long as they get the coffee into their system but they often don’t realize that ingesting all that sugar is counterproductive. Ensure that you have your coffee plain or with a limited amount of cream or milk.