8 Foods Diabetics Should Avoid
According to the National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2017, an estimated 9.4% of the total population of the USA, or 30.3 million people across all age brackets had diabetes in 2015, including both diagnosed as well as undiagnosed diabetes.
A chronic disease, diabetes is spreading like wildfire worldwide sparing no one, not even children. If you do not control your diabetes well within time, then it can cause serious health hazards, which could include heart disease, blindness, kidney problems, and may also lead to several other complications. Even people with prediabetes run the risk of these potentially life-threatening conditions.
Early stages of diabetes, and/ or those who are on medication can control their sugar levels by making some lifestyle changes, and eating a healthy diet. Yes, eating food that increases your sugar levels can make the situation worse, and can cause several diseases and complications.
What you eat has a direct bearing on your diabetes, hence you should eat only those foods which do not increase your sugar levels.
But, before we move further, let’s first try and understand what diabetes is.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes or diabetes mellitus is a disease where sugar levels in the blood increase, which causes irregular metabolism of carbohydrates. The disease is caused either when the pancreas is unable to produce an adequate amount of insulin, or when the body is not able to appropriately utilize the hormone (insulin) it produces.
Types of diabetes
Mainly, there are three types of diabetes – type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes.
As in any other chronic ailment, diabetes also requires proper care, regular monitoring, and medication. You need to find a physician who needs to work with you in order to keep your diabetes in check.
Why should people with diabetes not have carbohydrates in excess?
Your body gets energy from the food you eat, which mainly consists of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. People having diabetes have to keep in check their carb content if they want to control their sugar levels. Carbohydrate breaks down into sugar (glucose), which is later absorbed in the blood, hence too much of it can cause a problem.
Carbohydrate consists of sugar, starch, and fiber. Of these, fiber is not harmful to you because it is neither digested nor absorbed by your body. If your diet is rich in carbohydrate, your sugar levels can spike to dangerous levels. And, constant high levels of blood sugar in your body can lead to nerve and vessel damage, which in turn causes heart, kidney and several other health ailments.
It is therefore imperative that you choose your food judiciously so that your sugar levels remain under control.
8 Foods Diabetics Should Avoid
People with diabetes need to make some changes to their lifestyle, which includes regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and medicines, if required.
Here are some foods that you need to avoid if you want your sugar levels to remain within normal limits.
- Avoid sugary beverages – People with diabetes cannot do worse for themselves if they have sugary beverages. An ordinary 12 oz. soda can contains 38 grams of carbohydrate, which is not just bad for your diabetes but can also make you obese. Obesity is a big issue if you have diabetes, and not just that, it also causes many more problems.
From Desserts, sweets, and soda to candies, cookies, and cake, all of these have practically no nutritional value and are considered carbohydrates of low quality. They are also high in fructose content, which is again bad for your diabetes. Moreover, high intake of fructose can cause many problems like higher triglyceride levels, increased belly fat, and greater bad cholesterol readings, none of which are good for your health.
Instead of sugary beverages mentioned above, if you shift to fruits like pears, apple, oranges, and berries, which have carbohydrate of high quality, your diabetes can stay well under control. These fruits are not just high in fiber, they also slow down glucose absorption, and this helps your blood sugar to remain in control.
- Stay away from fried foods – Fried everything, including French fries, potato chips, fried chicken etc. should be a big no-no if you have diabetes. Fried stuff also increases your weight, another reason why you need to stay away from fried foods. All these fried items contain too much oil, and hence calories, which is not good for people who have diabetes. Moreover, many fried foods are cooked in hydrogenated oils, which is high in trans-fat. This is particularly bad for health, as it raises your bad cholesterol levels and lowers your good cholesterol.
- Don’t look towards fruit juices – Fruit juices can never be a replacement for the whole fruits. While whole fruits are good for people who have diabetes, fruit juices are in equal measure bad for them. Fruit juices are a shade healthier than soda, but for those who have diabetes, it increases your sugar levels because it contains concentrated fruit sugar. Moreover, fruit juices don’t have fiber content like whole fruits, hence you do not feel full even after having a glass or two of these juices. If you want to refresh yourself with a drink, try out fresh lime with water, which is good for your overall health.
- Also avoid maple syrup, honey, and agave nectar – If you think only processed white sugar is bad for your diabetes, do a rethink. Even brown sugar and maple syrup, honey and agave nectar (natural sugar) are also not good for people who have diabetes. These natural sugar also increases your blood sugar levels, as they are again high in carbohydrate content. Avoiding sugars in all forms is the best strategy going forward for people who have diabetes.
- Also stay away from dairy products containing saturated fats – Dairy products high in saturated fat content can raise your LDL cholesterol levels, which is not good for your heart. Hence, steer clear from dairy products that are high in saturated fats. But, why is it bad for people who have diabetes? Because a diet rich in saturated fats can aggravate insulin resistance. Therefore, if you have diabetes, then you should stay away from whole milk, ice-cream, full-fat yogurt, cream and cheeses that are high in saturated fats. Dairy products that are fat-free are what you need to eat in case you have diabetes.
- Steer clear from sweet breakfast cereals – People who have diabetes should not have cereals in their breakfast. Most of these cereals are nothing more than processed foods, which are high in carbohydrate content. Also, these cereals do not have sufficient protein content, which is an important nutrient for diabetics because it keeps you full, and also maintains your blood sugar levels throughout the day. Always select a breakfast that is high in proteins and low in carbohydrate if you have diabetes.
- Don’t have white flour, white rice, and white bread – People with diabetes should not have white rice and things made from white flour like pasta and white bread. White carbohydrates have similar effects like sugars, once the process of digestion gets underway it can also increase your blood sugar levels. Whole grains like brown rice, cereals rich in fiber, oatmeal, and whole grain bread are the food recommended for people who have diabetes. These carbohydrates break down gradually and are comparatively better for your blood sugar levels.
- Say no to dried fruits – Fresh fruits like apple, oranges, and pears contain lots of vitamins and minerals, and hence are good for people who have diabetes. But, when you dry these fruits and consume them it loses water, which increases the concentration of the nutrients present in the fruits. The sugar content of the fruit also increases and goes up by as much as triple its original value, which is not good for people who have diabetes. Hence, say no to dried fruits, and say yes to fresh fruits.
If you have diabetes and are looking to consult a physician who can manage your condition fairly well, get in touch with the doctors at MultiCARE Physicians.
If you are based in and around Lake Mary, Florida, visit MultiCARE Physicians for effective and efficient management of your diabetes, which includes holistic treatment from doctors who give you sufficient time, so that you clarify all your doubts.