Diabetes has become a big problem worldwide, with 415 million people living with diabetes. The CDC estimates that more than half a billion people could have diabetes by 2040. That figure has a lot to do with what we consume daily. Whether it’s a sandwich and chips or a salad with soda, you have to watch what you eat and drink if you have diabetes. Those with type 2 diabetes have a restricted diet of low carbs and sugars. Thus, being mindful of what you ingest is essential. People with diabetes must watch these foods and drinks or consume them in small portions and infrequently. However, that doesn’t mean that just because you have diabetes, you need to cut out everything you love from your diet.
According to the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes have a higher chance of stroke or heart attack. However, if you limit the intake of saturated fats, you can lower your risk. That includes cutting out palm oil, lard, and high-fat meats. Furthermore, you should consume any dairy products in moderation, as well. Remember to look at the packaging of grocery items when shopping; if you see hydrogenated oils on the ingredient label, you should put that back on the shelf. Why? Because seeing hydrogenated oils on the label means there is trans-fat in the product, even if the product claims otherwise.
Fruit smoothies may seem healthy; they even have “fruit” in the name. If you have diabetes, pay attention to how often you drink fruit smoothies and how large the portions are at once. That goes double if you get them from a smoothie bar. At least opt to get protein added and order a small rather than a large. Alternatively, you could make a healthy smoothie at home if you crave a one. That way, you know what’s going into it. Most smoothie places offer a pulverized, low-fiber smoothie primarily of fruit. However, since it is full of natural sugars, that will make your blood glucose spike. They are full of carbs, which you need to watch out for when you have diabetes. That is especially true when it’s something with no protein or healthy fat that acts similarly to fiber. These factors help slow the digestion process and prevent blood sugar from spiking.
Just because you have diabetes doesn’t mean you need to avoid high-fat cuts of meat altogether. However, you really should limit your consumption of them. Fatty cuts of meat include ground beef, hot dogs, bologna, bacon, ribs, and sausage. Like full-fat dairy, fatty cuts of meat are high in saturated fats. The saturated fats in meat raise cholesterol and promote inflammation throughout the body. They can also put those who have diabetes at an even greater risk for heart disease than those without it. As an alternative to fatty cuts of meat, choose lean proteins, such as turkey, chicken, pork tenderloin, fish, shellfish, and lean beef.
Even if you don’t have diabetes, it’s best to check with your doctor before indulging in alcoholic beverages. That is excellent advice when watching your blood glucose and sugar intake. Even if you are free to drink alcohol, only do so in moderation, which means having no more than two servings of alcohol per day if you are male and no more than one serving per day if you are female. Suppose you take medicine for diabetes. You should understand that these medications process through the liver, just like alcohol. As a result, the load could be too much for your liver. Taking insulin can cause your blood sugar to drop, especially if you aren’t eating but are drinking.
All fruit has natural sugar in it, some more than others. So thinking that dried fruit would be the same would make sense. However, that isn’t the case. Although dried fruit contains many nutrients and fiber, the dehydration they go through removes the water from them, making it easier to eat. The easier something is to eat, the more you will probably consume. Think about how many grapes you can eat in one sitting compared to raisins. Grapes fill you faster with their water content. So when reaching for any dried fruit, you might want to think about just how much you will consume. People with diabetes have to watch their blood glucose, and indulging in a whole bag of dried fruit will cause blood sugar spikes.
Fruits of all kinds are delicious, nutritious, and a great snack choice for any time of the year. Most fruits are low in glycemic index, or GI, scores. That means that they don’t impact blood sugar levels as much as other foods. Because fruit contains fiber and fructose, the fruit helps the body digest carbohydrates more slowly, which leads to more blood sugar levels over time. However, pineapples have a medium GI score. Meaning they have more of an effect on blood glucose than other fruits. Eat pineapple in moderation, pairing it with healthful fat or protein, such as avocado, seeds, nuts, or nut butter, to limit its effects on blood glucose levels.
Although bananas are a healthy fruit, they are also pretty high in sugar and carbs, which are the primary nutrients that raise blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, you want to be mindful of what you consume. Thus, if you’re going to have a banana, eat it with other foods, such as full-fat yogurt or nuts. That way, it helps slow the absorption and digestion of sugar. Also, make sure to watch your portion size. Eating a smaller-sized banana will help. Furthermore, choose one that is firm and nearly ripe. Why? Because the sugar content will be slightly lower. Keep reading to learn more about foods people with diabetes should avoid.
Watermelon may be delicious and refreshing, but they are a high GI food, which isn’t the best thing for someone who has diabetes. Don’t get upset just yet, though, because some foods with high GI levels don’t raise blood sugar as much as you’d think. Therefore, this is where the glycemic load, or GL, comes in for consideration. The GL takes into account the portion size, as well as the GI in food. Lycopene is an antioxidant in watermelon which helps fight free radicals, slows cancer growth, and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disorders, macular diseases, and diabetes. Reducing your risk of heart disease is essential because 68% of people with diabetes over 65 years old pass away from cardiovascular disease.
Have you ever tried dates? People with diabetes should be mindful when consuming dates because they have a very high content relative to the rest of their nutritional value. However, according to one study, they are a low glycemic index food that doesn’t result in significant increases in blood glucose. They are high in antioxidant compounds that can protect your body from inflammation, known as polyphenols. Dates are also high in potassium, iron, vitamin B-6, and fiber. Use them to replace sugar, chocolate chips, or candies in recipes to ensure you eat natural sugars instead of refined sugars.
If you have diabetes, you may have expanded your snack options to make healthier choices. Mangoes are something that may or may not make it to that list. Why? Because they contain excessive calorie and sugar content. People with diabetes should eat mangoes in moderation. However, they do have enzymes that aid the breakdown and digestion of protein and fiber, which keeps the digestive system functioning efficiently. When consuming mangoes with diabetes, the amount eaten should be based on the intensity of the disease while also fine-tuning your diet to help maintain your blood sugar levels.
Cherries are naturally sweet and have a relatively low caloric content. Studies show they contain nutrients and healthy bioactive components, including vitamin C, fiber, carotenoids, polyphenols, melatonin, tryptophan, and serotonin. However, there are a few things to consider if you have diabetes. You must account for the ripeness, type of sugar, cooking method, and the amount of processing. These factors will help determine how the glycemic index in the cherries affects blood sugar levels. As long as people with diabetes pay attention to their serving size, fresh cherries can have low GI levels.
Litchis have tons of nutrients, and they help keep you hydrated due to their high water content. They are also rich in vitamin C, help keep your skin healthy, and are a good source of dietary fibers. Litchis are high in potassium which may help prevent blood pressure spikes. Because of the antioxidants and the high amount of fibers present in litchi, they also help keep your heart healthy. They may even do wonders to your bones due to their high magnesium and phosphorus content. Nevertheless, even with all the benefits, if you have diabetes, you must be cautious. Eat litchis in moderation so that your blood sugar levels won’t spike too high.
Because raisins have a glycemic index value of between 49 and 64, they have a low to medium GI score. No matter the source, all carbohydrates affect your blood glucose levels, including the carbs in raisins, so you should be mindful of what you are consuming. However, carbohydrates’ effect on a person depends on the number of raisins you consume. Just be sure not to overeat in one sitting because many raisins eaten in one sitting could significantly increase your blood glucose levels. Keep reading for more foods people with diabetes should avoid.
Pasta of any sort has tons of carbohydrates; top it with some sauce, and those numbers add up quickly. Alfredo sauce has heavy cream, lots of butter, and parmesan cheese. People often pour it on a bed of white fettuccine noodles. Eating alfredo pasta can have 100 grams of carbs and easily tops 1,000 calories. White flour pasta with high sodium and fat sauce can elevate blood sugars over a long time. Why? Because of the high-fat content of the sauce. It’s important to look at the overall meal, not just the noodles when counting your carbs with diabetes.
When it comes to diabetes, white bread is something to keep in mind when adding it to a meal or snack. White bread loses its healthy fiber, minerals, and vitamins during the bleaching process. The refined grains convert into sugar that your body then stores. Because of this reason, consuming white bread daily can lead to diabetes, especially in those who have a family history of the disease. Refined white bread is also unable to break down inside our body correctly, making it another reason why it has the potential of clogging and clotting the heart in the long run, resulting in severe heart diseases later in life.
How often have you been asked, “Would you like fries with that?” Probably more than you can count, especially if you drive-thru or dine out regularly. However, people with diabetes should be careful with how many fries they consume, if any. That’s because French fries are potatoes. These starchy vegetables are naturally high in carbohydrates that raise blood sugar levels quickly. Although potatoes are technically a vegetable, they are probably one of the most unhealthy choices you have. When compared to other ones, they have a low fiber-to-carbohydrate ratio. They contain a ton of carbs and are also in the medium to high glycemic index range.
Do you love drinking soft drinks? Everyone should know that soda is not a healthy choice of beverage for anyone, especially for those who have diabetes. The alternative to regular soda would be the choice of diet soda. However, when drinking diet soda, make sure you are still drinking enough water throughout the day. Those who have switched to diet pop may find themselves drinking more of the diet soda and not enough water. Although you are cutting out these carbs from your daily consumption, please understand that diet pop is not a replacement for water. People with diabetes should avoid drinking any pop, diet or not.
Iced coffee makes it to the list of foods to avoid if you have diabetes. Why? Because although black coffee may have health benefits, it becomes a lot less healthy when you add sugar and creamer. Too much sugar in the blood can lead to weight gain over time, and it’s possible to develop diabetes. Studies prove that caffeine affects insulin responses, making insulin take more time to kick in. Caffeine increases your body’s resistance to insulin and contains chloroform. As a result, drinking iced coffee can spike your blood sugar level, causing additional complications from your diabetes. Keep reading for more food and drinks you should avoid, or at least consume in moderation, if you have diabetes.
Although rice is a good staple for a fulfilling meal, it’s good to know that it’s also rich in carbohydrates and can have a high glycemic index score. If you have diabetes, you may think you should skip it altogether for dinner, but that isn’t always the case. You can still enjoy rice if you have diabetes, just make sure you don’t eat it too frequently and only consume small portions of it at a time. There are healthier types of rice than just white rice. If you want to try something different from rice, there are alternatives, such as rolled and steel cut oats, bulgur, millet, quinoa, barley, and buckwheat, all of which have low GI scores.
Although butter doesn’t have tons of carbohydrates like many of the other foods on this list, it’s something that you shouldn’t overlook when consuming it. Although people with diabetes don’t need to avoid butter entirely, you should still consume it in moderation. This advice goes for anyone, not just those with diabetes. If you have diabetes or have a family history of the disease, stick to unsalted butter when cooking. Furthermore, know that butter/olive oil can be an excellent alternative for reducing saturated fat intake while keeping that buttery taste in your food. Keep reading for the top ten foods people with diabetes should avoid.
Even dairy milk has carbohydrates in every serving, but it’s a carb with a low glycemic index. However, this isn’t always true for non-dairy milk. With oat milk trending, it’s good to keep in mind that it’s very high in sugar and has a GI of about 86% as high as straight glucose. You can turn to substitutes if you have diabetes, such as unsweetened soy. Thanks to its higher protein levels and lower sugar levels, it tends to be the least likely to spike your blood sugar levels.
Diabetes or not, about 90% of your diet should focus on healthy foods like vegetables, beans, whole grains, fruits, poultry, and fish. There is wiggle room even in a healthy diet for treats like candy, whether you have diabetes or not. Because candy treats affect your blood sugar, it’s important to focus on portion control and moderation when you select these foods. So yes, it is okay to eat treats, even when you have diabetes, but you must be mindful when doing so. Consider the carbohydrates and calories in what you are consuming, so you don’t have too much.
During a large, long-term study, experts revealed that people who eat many fried foods might have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. That is especially true if there is a family history of either condition. You are at the greatest risk when you eat fried foods at a restaurant where the frying oil may not be fresh. Why? Because with each use, the oil becomes more degraded and absorbs more into the food, contributing to high cholesterol, weight gain, and higher blood pressure. These are all risk factors for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Remember, deep-friend foods aren’t just chicken and French fries, either, but could be some of your favorite snacks like donuts.
You may not think about it, even as a person with diabetes, but tomato sauce contains many hidden sugars and salts. It becomes a problem when people use too much of it or put it on everything they are consuming, so if you are going to eat any, make sure it’s in small amounts. When using it in a recipe, keep in mind how much you are putting into it so that you aren’t adding more on top before eating it. However, whole tomatoes are a healthy option for people with diabetes because they contain an antioxidant called lycopene, which prevents cells from damage. Experts recommend eating a whole tomato instead of using it as a sauce or ketchup.
Here is another type of meat to avoid if you have diabetes. Do you like meat cooked over an open flame or with a high-temperature cooking method, such as grilling, barbecuing, roasting, or broiling? This type of meat is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a study published online in Diabetes Care. Of course, this varies from person to person, depending on your weight and body mass index. It also depends on how often you consume chicken and red meats weekly. It’s best to eat small portions of red meat or chicken prepared weekly, especially if you have diabetes or are prone to it.
Because people consider frozen yogurt a treat, it’s best only to consume it in moderation if you have diabetes. Even though it sounds so healthy, especially since it’s yogurt, you would think it’d be a more nutritious snack. It may be similar to ice cream in some respects, but it doesn’t have cream, making it lower in calories and fat than regular ice cream. There are options, such as low-fat and nonfat frozen yogurts, you can choose from. However, they may have equal or slightly lower calorie counts than regular fro-yo and comparable amounts of sugar. So, if you have diabetes, be careful not to overeat frozen yogurt.
Whether you are in college, living on a budget, or just looking for a quick and easy snack or small meal, Maggi seems to be the best choice. Like many kinds of pasta and instant noodles, Maggi has lots of carbohydrates, sugars, high sodium, preservatives, etc. All these together make up a not-so-healthy snack choice. Even if you don’t have diabetes, it’s best to avoid instant noodles. Furthermore, you should especially stay away if you are someone with diabetes or pre-diabetes, as they have a high chance of increasing blood glucose levels rapidly. Keep reading for the top foods people with diabetes should avoid.
Pickles: from the juice to the smell, you either love them or hate them. Even though pickles are originally cucumbers that don’t contain carbohydrates, remember that they soak in a juice, giving them that pickled flavor. Certain pickles, such as dill pickles, are exceptionally high in sodium due to the brine they soak in, which is harmful in large amounts. However, the vinegar in commercially prepared pickle juice may help lower blood sugar levels. Pickles and olives are rich in healthy fats, so it’s not all bad news for people who have diabetes and love pickles.
Did you know that people with diabetes should avoid honey? Although honey is sweet and a popular topping, it’s not very healthy for those who have diabetes. Why? Because honey can cause blood sugar spikes. The same goes for agave nectar and maple syrup, even though they are “natural sugars.” Although these sweeteners aren’t highly processed like other sweet treats, they contain at least as many carbs as white sugar; most even have more. When you want to add a little bit of sweetness to something you are consuming, it’s best to avoid all forms of sugar and use natural low-carb sweeteners instead.
Although you may consider this option a healthy beverage, fruit juice affects blood sugar similar to sodas and other sugary drinks. This rule doesn’t just go for liquids containing added sugar but unsweetened 100% fruit juice. Some fruit juice is actually even higher in carbs and sugar than soda pop. Fruit juice has vast amounts of fructose, which drives insulin resistance, heart disease, and obesity. An alternative to something more than just a glass of plain water, but better than juice, is to add a lemon wedge to your water. A lemon wedge has less than one carb and is virtually calorie-free. It also adds a little bit of flavor to a rather bland drink, without the consequences, especially for those who have diabetes.