Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder that leads to persistently high levels of blood glucose(hyperglycemia). When not properly controlled, complications such as glaucoma, heart disease, kidney disease, and diabetic wounds may arise.
Diabetes control involves the use of insulin and medications, eating healthy, and exercise. Thus eating wrong can lead to poor control of blood sugar and insulin levels, thus an inability to maintain target blood glucose levels
Below are foods that diabetics should avoid:
Avoid sugary foods (Sweets and Soda)
Foods that are largely made up of processed sugars are low-quality carbohydrates (1). They lack nutritional value and cause spikes in blood sugar. In other words, they are high glycemic index foods. Low-quality carbohydrates do not only cause blood sugar spikes, but they can also lead to excessive weight gain. When refined sugars are consumed, the body secrets more insulin to regulate blood sugar. The insulin causes the conversion of excess sugar to fats which is stored in the body and causes weight gain.
Consume low glycemic index fruits like apples, pears, and oranges. They contain fibers that slow down glucose absorption, hence is effective in blood glucose control (2). You might want to pair fruits with high protein foods like boiled eggs to obtain better blood sugar levels.
Drink Carbonated water instead of fruit juice
Even though whole fruits are healthy for diabetics, fruit juices aren’t the same. Diabetics should avoid consuming juice (3). Fruit juices contain more minerals and vitamins than other sugary drinks and soda, but they have concentrated amounts of fruit sugars (fructose and glucose) which cause quick spikes in blood sugar. Fruit juices are loaded with fructose which is linked to insulin resistance and diabetes.
Fruit juices do not contain as much fiber as the whole fruit, thus sipping a fruit juice will not fill you up as eating whole fruit.
Instead of taking fruit juices, go for carbonated water with a spritz of lemon or lime
Avoid dried fruits
Fruits contain sugars, vitamins, and minerals, including dietary fibers as well. When fruits are dried, water is removed in the process. Although it increases fiber concentration, it also increases nutrient concentration and sugar content, unfortunately. Thus dried fruits can still keep blood sugar level soaring. Choose whole fruits high in fiber which result in slower glucose absorption, over dry fruits
Avoid Processed grains (White Carbohydrates) and replace with Whole Grains
Refined carbohydrates like white rice, bread, and pasta have a high glycemic index. They spike blood sugar levels rapidly. High fiber diets are said to reduce plasma glucose concentration in diabetic patients by slowing the process of glucose absorption. This is one of the reasons why most diabetes associations encourage high fiber diets for patients. Fibers also can reduce weight and disturb carbohydrates and fat metabolism. Replace refined foods with whole grains and cereals (3). Whole-grain cereal products are considered to be especially effective in the prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Examples of whole grains include brown rice, whole grain bread, oatmeal, and barley
Opt for Lean Proteins Over Fatty Cuts of Meat
Type 2 diabetics should avoid high-fat cuts of meat and processed meat. These are high in saturated fats and can raise blood cholesterol, exposing patients to high risks for heart diseases, high blood pressure, and obesity. Chose lean meat such as skinless chicken and turkey, fish, lean beef and shellfish
Avoid Oily and Fried Foods
Fried foods absorb oil which increases calories. Eating fried foods can lead to weight gain and blood sugar spikes. Not only do they spike blood glucose levels but they can leave it high over a long time. This is explained by the fact that fat takes a longer time to digest. You can replace fried foods like chips, French fries, and fried chicken with baked or grilled chicken
Avoid alcohol or drink only in moderation
Alcohol can lower blood sugar after it is drunk until about 24 hours later. In the case of hypoglycemia, the liver usually releases stored sugar as a remedy However, in a situation where the liver is busy metabolizing alcohol, the patient might become hypoglycemic. Drink alcohol only on the doctor’s approval. Alcohol can aggravate diabetes complications, such as nerve damage and eye disease. But if your diabetes is under control and your doctor agrees, drinking once in a while is ok.
Skip sweeteners that spike your blood sugar
Cut back on added sugars. Most people, especially diabetics think that natural sweeteners like honey do not cause blood sugar booms. The body, however, does not distinguish between sugars so most sweeteners lead to blood sugar spikes
Avoid Trans Fats
Hydrogenated fats are very dangerous to the body (4). To stabilize fats industrially, hydrogen is added to unsaturated fats to make them stable or saturated. These fats do not directly raise blood sugar but they are associated with insulin resistance, increased body weight, increased blood cholesterol and impaired arterial function, and increased inflammation. Trans fats can especially increase the rate of heart disease diabetics.
These trans fats are found in margarine, creams, whole milk yogurts, peanut butter, and some baked goods. Avoid all foods that contain hydrogenated fats.
One of the main goals of a diabetic is to stay away from unhealthy foods which include fats, refined sugars, and processed grains. Being able to choose which foods to avoid may seem challenging sometimes. Guidelines can facilitate your choices. Avoid foods that spike blood glucose levels, increase insulin resistance, or lead to weight gain. This will help to reduce the risk of complications associated with diabetes
Knowing which foods to avoid when you have diabetes can sometimes seem tough. However, following a few guidelines can make it easier.
Your main goals should include staying away from unhealthy fats, liquid sugars, processed grains, and other foods that contain refined carbs.
Avoiding foods that increase your blood sugar levels and drive insulin resistance can help keep you healthy now and reduce your risk of future diabetes complications. A healthy diabetes diet includes low glycemic index fruits like apples and pears, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meat like skinless chicken and healthy fish like salmon, and good fats like olive oil. Avid foods that can spike blood sugar, regular exercise, and taking your medications and insulin can help in the control of blood sugar to target levels.
1) Good food for diabetes 2.ai – NT Health Digital Library
digitallibrary.health.nt.gov.au › prodjspui › bitstream
3) American Diabetes Association., www.diabetes.org
4) Basem G.A Fahmy.,(2016) Trans fat. Egypt. J. Chem. Environ. Health, 2 (2):134 – 166(2016) On line ISSN: 2536-9164 134