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If you have diabetes, that doesn’t mean that everything you eat needs to be boring and bland. However, you do need to pay extra attention to what you put into your body, and there are some foods that should definitely be avoided.
The 11 Worst Foods for Diabetics (Slideshow)
Diabetes, put simply, is the presence of too much glucose in your blood. Glucose is an important source of energy for cells and the brain’s main source of fuel, but too much of it can lead to major health problems. A hormone called insulin is responsible for allowing glucose into the cells, but with type 1 diabetes the immune system attacks the insulin; with type 2 diabetes the cells become resistant to insulin. In both cases, sugar is left to build up in the bloodstream.
To control diabetes, it’s best to avoid foods that can raise your blood sugar too much or too fast. Obviously, foods that are high in sugar—both processed and natural—can cause blood sugar to spike, but plenty of foods that aren’t sweet, like those high in refined carbohydrates, can still have a high glycemic index and add too much sugar too quickly to your bloodstream (refined starches act a lot like sugar once they’re digested). The glycemic index is a measurement of how fast a carbohydrate raises your blood sugar; it’s suggested that when a diabetic eats one of the foods on our list (which have high glycemic indexes), it be balanced out with a low-glycemic index food, like steel-cut oatmeal or non-starchy vegetables.
The Mayo Clinic suggests that diabetics center their diet on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains instead of simple carbs, animal products, and sweets. There’s no specific diabetes diet, but some foods should certainly be avoided, or at least consumed in strict moderation. Foods that are high in cholesterol, fat, sodium, carbohydrates, and calories are unhealthy in general, but are even more dangerous for diabetics because their health is already compromised, and their body is working overtime to keep them healthy.
Each case of diabetes is unique, so diabetics should work with their doctor or nutritionist to create a meal plan that works for them. It’s also important to exercise regularly, because exercise naturally reduces blood sugar by moving it into your cells, where it’s burned as energy. Read on for 11 foods that diabetics should think twice before eating.
Potatoes are a simple starch, and can cause blood glucose levels to shoot through the roof. Frying them adds a ton of grease into the mix, which is a double whammy. Instead, opt for a side of non-starchy vegetables or oven-baked sweet potatoes, which have a low glycemic index.
Whole grain bread is a much better option that white bread, because its high fiber levels allow blood sugar to rise more slowly. White bread, with its refined carbs and lack of nutrients, causes a much faster blood sugar spike.
Click here for 9 more foods diabetics should stay away from.
10 Worst Breakfast Foods to Eat if You Have Diabetes
Some breakfast options can be detrimental to blood sugar levels when you have diabetes. Here are the top 10 breakfast choices to steer clear of and healthier options to choose instead.
Your mom always told you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. For people with diabetes it is especially important to eat an appropriate balance of carbs, protein, and fat in the morning to help start your day right and keep blood sugar levels steady. While all foods fit in a healthy diabetes diet, some breakfast options can be particularly unhealthy when it comes to blood sugar or heart health. Here are 10 breakfast choices to limit and what you should choose instead for a healthy breakfast.
There’s no surprise around the fact that sweets are a potential trigger of diabetes. But why is that? Sweets are made from refined sugars, which are carbohydrates. They are available in nature, and they are that for our metabolism, but not as simple sugars. Industries break down complex carbohydrates and create a concentrate of refined sugar that is very tasty but not equally healthy.
Inside our organism, refined sugars are swiftly absorbed by the organism. Instead of being a good thing, this faster absorption rate is not normal, and disrupts our entire metabolism. They cause an instantaneous increase in sugar that is met with an insulin peak that wears down and damages the pancreatic tissue in the long run.
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"They may be tasty come summer, but char-grilled, burnt meats are high in advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which perpetuate damaged cell receptors and causes insulin resistance," cautions Miriam Jacobson, MS, RD, CNS, CDN. A little bit of char is inevitable when you're grilling, but if any parts are extremely blackened, cut them off before digging in, the American Diabetes Association advises.
Worst Foods for Diabetics: Cheeseburger
I wasn’t much of a hamburger person, but McDonald’s and Burger King are well-known for their burgers. Hamburgers are the Number 1 sandwich eaten in the United States.
Cheeseburgers make the triple-killer list because they contain refined flour, cancer-causing growth hormones and antibiotics from the beef, and the mucous-forming cow’s cheese. And, don’t forget all the artery-clogging saturated fat from the beef and cheese!
And, if you add the bacon — why don’t you just shoot the fat directly into your arteries? Can you say heart attack?Have it your way. A heart attack is one bite away.Have it your way: A heart attack is only a bite away.
Burger King has a saying “Have it your way.” Have what your way? Have diabetes your way? Have high blood pressure your way? What exactly is it that you’re supposed to have your way?
Wendy’s has a saying “You know when it’s real.” You know when what is real? A heart attack? You know when the heart attack is real??
OK — so you can specify how you want them to make your hamburger and what condiments to add to your burger. Does that make you feel better while you’re having a heart attack?
Instead, if you really miss eating beef, then, buy organic beef or bison, which is grass-fed and doesn’t have the growth hormones and antibiotics.
The Top 10 Worst Foods If You Have Diabetes
If you have diabetes, in many ways your diet is your medicine. As diabetes educators, we help patients understand what food and beverage choices are best to avoid. When foods are high in carbohydrates, fat and sodium, they increase your risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, weight gain, heart disease and uncontrolled sugar.
Top 10 offenders
- Sweetened drinks. These include regular pop/soda, fruit punches and iced teas. These are loaded with sugar and calories, and they usually have little or no nutritional value. Instead, try infusing plain water with different berries and fruits so you can enjoy the natural sweetness.
- “Designer” or specialty coffee drinks – including frappuccinos or cappuccinos. That “once a day special treat” can add up to lots of extra sugar, calories and saturated fat. Instead, go for straight java, either black, with artificial sweetener or a small splash of skim milk.
- Whole milk. It has too much fat, which can lead to weight gain. Switch to 2% , 1% – or even better: skim milk. Keep in mind that one cup of skim milk has 12 grams of carbohydrates. If you don’t like milk or are lactose intolerant, you can drink almond milk, rice milk or soy milk instead—but remember to get the low sugar varieties.
- Hot dogs. These grilled little favorites are still high in saturated fat and sodium—yes, that even includes turkey dogs! Try to avoid them or eat them only occasionally.
- Packaged lunch meats. These are also high in saturated fat and sodium. Check your deli for low sodium meats—or better yet use sliced meat that you’ve roasted at home to make your sandwiches. Also remember that sandwich toppings can be very unhealthy too (think high-fat mayonnaise). Instead add flavor to your sandwiches with mustard, veggies and/or a little bit of hummus.
- Sweetened cereals. These are high in carbohydrates because of the added sugar. Go for the plain cereals and add a little fruit or artificial sweetener.
- Regular pancake syrup. It’s very high in carbohydrates. Light or low-calorie syrup usually contains at least half the carbs of regular. And with these lighter syrups, remember that the serving size is still small. Take a look at the food label and use sparingly.
- Sherbet. Many people believe sherbet is a good alternative to ice cream, but a half cup of sherbet has almost double the carbohydrates of a half cup of ice cream.
- Fast food baked potatoes with all the fixin’s. You take a relatively healthy item—the plain baked potato—and add cheddar cheese, butter, sour cream, ranch dressing or bacon and it just turned into a high-sodium, fat laden disaster. The same goes for nachos and other cheese-covered appetizers when eating out.
- Anything fried. We know fried foods are not good for anyone. The fat is absorbed into the food and leads to high cholesterol and weight gain which can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes or worsen control if you already have diabetes. This goes for everything from French fries to fried chicken to that panko-crusted tilapia at your favorite restaurant. Try baking or broiling your food or even consider checking out the new air fryers that use hot air instead of oil. They are a healthier option than deep-fat fryers.
Now for the best foods…
All of the foods on our list have a low glycemic index (which represents the total rise in a person’s blood sugar level after eating the food) and provide important nutrients you need to stay healthy.
10 Most Worst Foods for Type 2 Diabetes
Yes! I have seen many people who are suffering from diabetes and are using white bread.
If you are also included in those people then note, white bread can be dangerous for your health and disease ( 0 ).
Because it contains high carbohydrates (carbs), they are also simple carbs, which is a form of SUGAR. That is why you should keep a distance from this food item.
And secondly, the company uses sugar in the bread to increase the taste of the bread, not keeping in mind your health.
In other words, companies mean only profit, NOT your health, so you should think about your health yourself.
That’s why I always keep saying on TheFitnessWood, that you always keep getting information about nutrition, diet, exercise, etc, which will help you a lot in avoiding diabetes or any other diseases?
If you want to use white bread, then you can use it twice a month but not in much quantity, because it makes your blood sugar level unbalanced.
Bonus tips –
Right now a question is going on in many people that if we do not use white bread, what should we eat?
You can use multigrain bread, whole wheat bread, whole grain bread, whole oats bread etc. by replacing white bread. ( 0 )
Because all this bread helps in controlling your glucose level.
When you have an option, you should use the option.
2. You should also not use white potatoes.
Because simple carbs are found in white potatoes just like white bread. Which makes your insulin imbalanced.
Due to which the level of sugar in your blood increases.
No matter how expensive a drug you eat, your blood sugar level may decrease, but you cannot control it.
Because on one side you are using high carbohydrates foodsand on the other side you are using medicines.
That is why, by improving your diet, you need to depend less on medication.
So now the point is, what to eat if you do not eat white potatoes?
Bonus tips –
You can use sweet potato instead of white potato, which reduces your blood sugar and helps in improving insulin.
Don’t be afraid of the word “Sweet“.
Healthy carbs are found in sweet potato, which is beneficial for your health ( 0 ).
By the way, let me tell you that no food item is harmful to our body unless we use more of any food item.
Even, you can use sugar but in a certain proportion about which people are not aware.
But I will tell you that if you do not use sugar, it will be better.
3. Stop using packaged juices –
Yes! Be careful if you use packaged juice sold in the super mall, it is absolutely bad for your health.
Because there is a lot of sugar in it, due to which the amount of glucose in your blood increases quickly.
Therefore, you should not use fruit juice sold in the market.
If you want to use juice then you should use natural juice.
If you keep reading regular articles related to diabetes on the internet then you must have read that natural juice is also not good for a diabetic.
Because all the juices contain an element called fructosewhich is a form of sugar.
This is absolutely true, but eating natural foods does not hurt you much.
Just keep in mind that you should use juice properly.
So now the point is, how can you drink juice –
Bonus tips –
The amount of fiber in any juice is very low.
Which is why diabetic is said to stay away from juice.
So it means that you should not consume fruit or juice, you should do it at all.
You can replace fruit juice and use whole fruits, which is good for your health, but in moderation.
4. Stop using sweets at all.
In earlier times we used to use sweets only at festivals, but now we consume sweets every day.
It has become our culture, which is not right for your health at all.
Do you know, 80% of sweets contain only sugar, the rest 20% other ingredients.
So you can understand, it is not good for you.
If you want to get rid of diabetes, do not eat cake on the occasion of someone’s birthday parties, marriage ceremony, ring ceremony, etc.
Because a slice cake has about 2 tablespoons of sugar.
Using it only makes your insulin unbalanced.
Bonus tips –
Use whole fruits salad, soup etc. to replace the sweet dish at parties.
Like – cherries, berries, apples, banana, oranges, pears, apricots etc. (Use in moderation ).
5. Reduce the habit of eating white rice.
The consumption of white rice in the world is very high, compared to other rice.
If you are also fond of eating white rice, then try to replace it from today.
If you do not do this, then your insulin resistance problem will increase significantly.
Eating white rice increases the amount of sugar in your blood because simple carbohydrates (carbs) are found in white rice, which is a form of sugar ( 0 ).
Those who are healthy also should not consume white rice on a regular basis.
Now it is said that what to eat if you do not eat white rice?
Bonus tips –
You can use whole grain rice, brown rice, unprocessed rice etc. by replacing white rice.
6. Baked and packaged snacks etc.
Yes! We knowingly and unknowingly use bakery products (cakes, pastries, cookies, etc.) daily.
Doctors only tell us that you should stay away from oil, sweet dish, etc., but it does not tell that you should stay away from bakery products, maltose, fructose, etc too.
(Forgive me, I am not telling the doctor badly, but I am trying to tell you what is happening in our society. My father was a patient of type 2 diabetes, which is why I know this.)
Only a nutritionist and dietician can tell you about what you should or should not eat.
Therefore, if you go to a doctor, then you should go to a good doctor and ask you what to eat.
Only then you can live a healthy life.
Bonus tips –
You replace bakery products and start using natural products.
Like – You can use cashew nut, almonds, peanuts, low fructose fruits, sweet potato etc.
7. Do not use shoddy alcohol.
If you use shoddy alcohol for saving money, then stop it from today.
Because, a lot of carbs, calories, and some harmful substances are added to it, which has a very bad effect on your health.
I would suggest you not to use good brand alcohol.
Because it directly affects your liver.
You start taking vegetable soup instead of alcohol.
If you take regular vegetable soup, then you will start feeling good in the coming few days.
- Do not consume white bread. Instead, you can use whole grain bread, multigrain bread, whole wheat bread.
- White potato is not good for your health, so you can eat sweet potato.
- Replace the packaged juice and use whole fruits.
- You stay away from bakery products and sweets.
- You can use brown rice regularly, but do not consume white rice.
- Do not use oily and packaged snacks at all, it can increase your insulin problem greatly.
- And finally, keep a distance from alcohol.
I hope this article has proved to be very helpful for you. If yes, then you can share it with your friends and relatives on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc. which can help your friends to maintain good health.
If you want to give any suggestions on this article, then you can comment below. I will try to answer as soon as possible.
13 best and worst foods for people with diabetes
If you have diabetes, watching what you eat is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy.
"The basic goal of nutrition for people with diabetes is to avoid blood sugar spikes," said Dr. Gerald Bernstein, director of the diabetes management program at Friedman Diabetes Institute, Beth Israel Medical Center in New York.
Candy and soda can be dangerous for diabetics because the body absorbs these simple sugars almost instantly. But all types of carbs need to be watched, and foods high in fat—particularly unhealthy fats—are problematic as well because people with diabetes are at very high risk of heart disease, said Sandy Andrews, RD, director of education for the William Sansum Diabetes Center in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Worst: White rice
The more white rice you eat, the greater your risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a 2012 review. In a study of more than 350,000 people, those who ate the most white rice were at greatest risk for type 2 diabetes, and the risk increased 11 percent for each additional daily serving of rice.
"Basically anything highly processed, fried, and made with white flour should be avoided," Andrews said.
White rice and pasta can cause blood sugar spikes similar to that of sugar.
Have this instead: Brown rice or wild rice. These whole grains don't cause the same blood sugar spikes thanks to fiber, which helps slow the rush of glucose into the bloodstream, Andrews said. What's more, a Harvard School of Public Health study found that two or more weekly servings of brown rice was linked to a lower diabetes risk.
Worst: Blended coffees
Blended coffees that are laced with syrup, sugar, whipped cream, and other toppings can have as many calories and fat grams as a milkshake, making them a poor choice for those with diabetes. A 16-ounce Frappuccino at Starbucks, for instance, can contain 500 calories, 98 grams of carbs, and 9 grams of fat. You may consider a treat such as this "just coffee," but the blended versions can send blood glucose soaring.
Have this instead: Ask for the smaller, 12-oz light or non-fat versions, which range from 60 to 200 calories, making it a much lower-calorie, lower-sugar substitute, said Andrews.
"The lighter version won't drive blood sugars sky high, especially if you take a walk afterward," she added. Ideally, black coffee is best.
Worst: Bananas and melons
All fresh fruit is packed with vitamins and fiber, making them a healthy part of any diet. However, some fruits contain more sugar.
"Bananas, melons, and stone fruits like peaches and nectarines are on the high-sugar side," said Dr. Cathy Doria-Medina, a Los Angeles endocrinologist.
These may cause blood sugar spikes more than other fruit, although this may not be true for everyone.
Have this instead: Granny Smith apples, blueberries, and other berries are lower in sugar.
"But what works for one diabetic may not work for another, so you need to find which fruits work best for you," said Doria-Medina. "Combining the fruit with peanut butter or low-fat cheese (making sure to reduce the fruit portion by half) is also a good way to cut down the fruit portion."
Test your blood sugar two hours after eating to find out how you react.
Worst: Chinese food
High-calorie, high fat, high-sodium, and high-carb Chinese food dishes can spike blood sugar dramatically and keep it high for a while, said Andrews. The biggest offenders include fried entrees such as orange chicken and sweet and sour dishes, which contain breading and are served swimming in a sugary sauce.
Have this instead: If you enjoy Chinese food, prepare a modified recipe at home using steamed veggies and low-sodium, low-fat condiments and flavorings. Reducing sodium can help lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart attacks. Skip the white rice and noodles have brown rice or wild rice instead.
Worst: Breakfast pastries
Avoid doughnuts, toaster pastries, and other bakery sweets if you want to keep your blood sugar under control, said Andrews.
"They're made from processed white flour and are high in fat, carbs, and sodium."
Cinnamon rolls may be the worst, clocking in at over 800 calories and up to 120 grams of carbs.
Have this instead: Try half of a whole-grain English muffin or a brown rice cake topped with peanut butter and a little low-sugar jam, suggested Andrews.
"They're less processed and lower in fat, carbohydrates, and sodium."
Worst: Fruit smoothies
A fruit smoothie sounds like healthy refreshment, but can be a sugary disaster if you have diabetes. A large (28-ounce) smoothie from Jamba Juice contains as much as 510 calories and 92 grams of carbohydrates
"They're full of sugar," said Doria-Medina, a diabetes expert with Healthcare Partners Medical Group in Los Angeles. "A large Jamba Juice smoothie is like drinking three cans of soda."
Have this instead: Make your own smoothie so you can control exactly what goes in it. Include vegetables like kale or spinach and use low-sugar fruits such as green apples and berries, said Dr. Doria-Medina.
Worst: Trail mix
Store-bought trail mix is a blend of nuts, dried fruit, and milk chocolate. Only the nuts are a safe bet for diabetics (and in moderation they can be high in calories)¬. The dehydration process causes fruits’ natural sugars to become super concentrated.
"Plus, the portion sizes are big, especially when you consider a single dried apricot represents a whole apricot," said Doria-Medina. "It’s easy to eat too much."
Have this instead: Make your own low-carb mix with sunflower seeds, walnuts, soy nuts, roasted peanuts, and almonds with small amounts of unsweetened coconut. Eating nuts in moderation (one ounce per serving) may reduce the rise in blood glucose when consumed along with carbohydrates such as bread, and they are also linked to a lower risk of heart disease.
Worst: Refined cereal
Sweetened breakfast cereals can cause a spike in blood sugar, but the response can vary.
"Blood sugar reactions to cereal vary greatly from person to person," said Doria-Medina.
Even oatmeal—which is recommended as a good choice by the ADA—can be a problem if it's the sweetened, instant type.
Have this instead: Swap breakfast cereal for a high-protein meal instead, suggested Dr. Doria-Medina. Try an egg white omelet with vegetables and turkey or Canadian bacon with a small slice of low-carb (7 grams) bread. Cholesterol in the yolk may contribute to a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes, which makes egg whites a healthier option. Steel cut and traditional oatmeal, cooked slowly, is a better choice than other types of oatmeal as it is less likely to spike blood sugar, says Andrews. Small portions and adding protein can help.
Worst: Fruit juice
Pair a glass of orange juice with your breakfast, and you may as well have sipped a can of soda—fruit juices are just as high in sugar and calories, said Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the clinical diabetes center at the University Hospital of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, NY.
"This includes all juices, including those from your juicer as well as those labeled 'no sugar added.' "
Have this instead: Eat a piece of (low-sugar) fruit and skip the juice, said Zonszein. The sugar in whole fruits is less concentrated than in juice form.
"This creates less of a surge of blood sugar (along with more vitamins), which makes the sugar absorb more slowly and keeps blood sugar steadier."
Worst: Energy bars
Sports bars aren't totally off limits, but you need to read labels, said Andrews.
"They may seem like a healthful snack choice, but many snack bars contain high levels of sugar and carbs, up to 450 calories and 60 grams of carbohydrates."
Look for a balance of protein and carbs with a little fat (about 3 grams) and wholesome ingredients, said Andrews, who suggests talking to a registered dietitian to determine those that best suit your needs.
Have this instead: In addition to taking your dietitian's advice, satisfy your snack fix with lower carb treats. Try a cup of light popcorn, 10 goldfish crackers, a piece of string cheese, 15 almonds, or a frozen, sugar-free popsicle, all of which contain fewer than five grams of carbs, according to the American Diabetes Association.
Worst: Pasta Alfredo
Alfredo sauce is made from heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, and lots of butter. Pour it on top of a bed of white fettuccine noodles and your meal can easily top 1,000 calories, 75 grams of fat, and nearly 100 grams of carbohydrates.
"White flour pasta in a high-fat, high-sodium sauce can elevate blood sugars over a long period of time due to the high fat content of the sauce," said Andrews.
Have this instead: Have whole-wheat pasta with a tomato based sauce instead, says Andrews. A half-cup serving of Alfredo sauce contains approximately 280 calories and 24 grams of fat compared to half a cup of marinara sauce at 70 calories and only three grams of fat
"Both sauces have a similar amount of carbs (8 to 10 grams), but it's the pasta that adds up, at 15 grams per one-third cup portion, clearly less than the typical serving size."
The exact portion size of pasta depends on the number of carbs in the rest of your meal. A cup of pasta contains 45 grams of carbohydrates, which may be all the carbs for your entire dinner, for example.
Worst: French fries
Andrews describes french fries as "little carbohydrate sponges soaked in fat." At 25 grams of fat, 500 calories, and over 63 grams of carbohydrates, a large serving of French fries can wreak havoc on blood sugar. The American Diabetes Association notes that starchy foods like potatoes, corn, and peas are "great sources of vitamins, minerals, and fiber," but recommends skipping those with added fat or sodium. You can test your blood sugar two hours after eating to find out what effect any particular food has on your blood sugar.
Have this instead: Fries are usually the default option when ordering a burger or sandwich, but most restaurants will swap in fresh fruit or a side salad if you ask.
Worst: Fatty meats
People with diabetes are at high risk of heart disease. Although meat is rich in protein and doesn't contain carbohydrates (which raise blood sugar), some proteins sources are better than others. Try to avoid meat that's particularly high in saturated fat (like red meat), breaded, fried, or loaded with sodium (like processed meats).
Have this instead: Aim to eat more plant-based proteins like beans, peas, lentils, and soy (keeping in mind that some vegetarian protein sources do contain carbs). Opt for fish, seafood, and chicken, which tend to be lower in saturated fat and contain more heart healthy fats. Avoid food that's covered in high-calorie sauces, breading, or high-fat skin (in the case of chicken).
14 Foods to Avoid With Diabetes – Worst Foods For Diabetics
The list of foods that cause diabetes does not only include carbohydrates. Trans fats and saturated fats in margarine are also included. Margarine is often used as a substitute for butter, but it is made from vegetable oils instead of dairy. In the process of making margarine, fats are hydrogenated and transformed into trans fats, a type of unsaturated fatty acid that increases shelf life and improves the taste.
However, trans fats are not common in nature, and our bodies can’t handle them appropriately. Thus, they lead to hypercholesterolemia and increase our systemic inflammation. At the end of the metabolic chain, margarine contributes to increasing the risk of diabetes.
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Fats, Oils, and Sweets
They’re tough to resist. But it’s easy to get too much and gain weight, which makes it harder to manage your diabetes.
- Natural sources of vegetable fats, such as nuts, seeds, or avocados (high in calories, so keep portions small)
- Foods that give you omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, or mackerel
- Plant-based oils, such as canola, grapeseed, or olive oils
- Anything with trans fat in it. It's bad for your heart. Check the ingredient list for anything that’s “partially hydrogenated,” even if the label says it has 0 grams of trans fat.
- Big portions of saturated fats, which mainly come from animal products but also are in coconut oil and palm oil. Ask your doctor what your limit should be, especially if you have heart disease as well as diabetes.