Foods to Avoid when You have Diabetes

Foods to Avoid when You have Diabetes

Diabetes, a major lifestyle disease, is undoubtedly the most challenging public health problem of the 21st century. People with diabetes have high blood glucose or sugar levels because their bodies don’t make or use insulin effectively. Uncontrolled diabetes can have many serious complications.

Your food choices matter a lot when you have diabetes. You should watch what you eat and how much you eat. Intake of wrong foods can raise your blood sugar and insulin levels and cause inflammation, which may increase your risk of disease. This article lists foods that people having diabetes should ignore.

Why does carbohydrate intake matter in diabetes?

Carbohydrates, fat, and protein are the nutrients that offer your body with energy. Of these, carbohydrates have the greatest effect on your blood glucose or sugar levels. Carbohydrates include starches, sugar, and fiber. The body breaks down starches and sugars into glucose, which is absorbed into your bloodstream. Fiber, however, is not processed by the body in the same way and so does not raise blood sugar levels.

When people with diabetes consume too many carbohydrates at a time, their blood sugar levels can rise to dangerously high levels. Over time, such high levels can damage your body’s nerves and blood vessels, causing heart disease, kidney disease, and other serious health conditions. Maintaining a low carbohydrate intake can help prevent blood sugar spikes and greatly reduce the risk of diabetes complications. Your main goals should be staying away from unhealthy fats, sugars, processed grains and other foods that contain refined carbohydrates.

Hence, it’s vital to avoid the foods listed below.

White flour, bread, and rice

All grains are starchy carbohydrates. Grains may be refined by removing the bran and germ to increase their shelf life. These refined starches are among the most dangerous foods for diabetics. They include white rice, and anything made with white flour, such as white bread, pasta, crackers etc. These starchy foods have a high glycemic index, that means your body tends to digest them more rapidly, which can lead to a spike in your blood sugar levels. It is best to opt for whole grain foods such as brown rice, whole-grain bread, and whole-grain pasta.

Sugary foods and drinks

Diabetics should avoid foods and drinks containing added sugar, whether it is table sugar, honey, maple syrup, dextrose, glucose or fructose. All these foods are very high in carbohydrates, mostly from sugar. Not only are these sugary foods lacking in nutritional value, they also cause a sharp increase in blood sugar levels and lead to weight problems, both of which worsen diabetes complications. Avoid soft drinks, energy drinks, sugary coffees, candies, cookies, cakes, chocolates, and other desserts.

Fruit juices

Fruit juice is often considered a healthy drink, but its effects on blood sugar is actually like those of sodas and other sugary drinks. People with diabetes should avoid drinking juice, even unsweetened 100 percent fruit juice. The problem is that juices have concentrated amounts of natural fruit sugar, which is absorbed very quickly and can cause blood sugar levels to shoot up. Moreover, fruit juices lack the fiber found in whole fruits and are thus a lot less filling.

Packaged snacks and baked products

Packaged snacks and baked products, like chips, crackers, cookies, doughnuts, pastries, usually contain unhealthy sugar, white flour, sodium, and preservatives. They provide few nutrients, but can rapidly raise blood sugar levels.  Moreover, these products may contain trans-fats. Trans fats increase your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol, lower your “good” (HDL) cholesterol, and raise your possibility of heart disease. This is of great concern for people with diabetes, as they are already at an increased risk of heart disease. Snack on whole foods, such as fruits, veggies, nuts, and low-fat yogurts instead.

Full-fat dairy products

Full-fat dairy products are loaded with saturated fats that can raise your LDL cholesterol levels and increase your risk of heart disease. Saturated fats may also worsen insulin resistance and cause serious problems for people with diabetes. Avoid full-fat dairy products, such as cream, full-fat yogurt, ice cream, cream cheese etc. Instead, try low-fat or fat-free products.

Dried fruits

Dried fruits are a very concentrated source of carbohydrates, and may contain more than three times as many carbohydrates as fresh fruits do. When the fruit is dried, the procedure results in a loss of water that leads to a higher concentration of sugar in the dried fruit. Because dried fruits are dehydrated, it’s easier to eat more, which can send your blood sugar soaring. Avoid dried fruits and choose fruits low in sugar, such as fresh berries or a small apple, for optimal blood sugar control.

Fried foods

Fried foods such as french fries and potato chips should be avoided at all cost. These foods are high in carbohydrates and fat, which is a tough combination for diabetics. It will increase blood sugar quickly and keep it high for a long time because the fat takes some time to digest. Moreover, some foods are fried in hydrogenated oils that are loaded with unhealthy trans-fats, that increase your LDL cholesterol, lower your HDL cholesterol, and increase your risk of heart disease.

Fatty meats

High-fat cuts of meat are loaded with saturated fats. Saturated fats raise cholesterol levels and promote inflammation throughout the body. This can increase your risk of heart disease, or your chances of having a stroke or heart attack. Having diabetes already increases those risks, so avoiding these types of foods is a good idea. Avoid meat that’s particularly high in saturated fat (like red meat) or loaded with sodium (like processed meats). Instead, choose fish, seafood, and chicken that tend to be lower in saturated fat.

Disclaimer: All material on is provided for informational purposes only and should not be taken as a substitute for professional medical or health advice. Always seek the advice of your physician for any questions regarding your symptoms or medical condition and before taking any home remedies or supplements.