Choosing healthy foods is crucial if you have diabetes. Better than others are some. There are no absolute restrictions. Even things you might consider the worst may occasionally be enjoyed in little quantities as treats. However, they won’t benefit your nutrition, and sticking primarily to healthy choices will make managing your diabetes the simplest.
Many people can manage their diabetic symptoms and lower their risk of complications by eating a healthy, balanced diet. If you have diabetes, you might be wondering what foods to avoid.
The three primary macronutrients—carbohydrates, fats, and proteins—come in healthier and less healthful varieties. We will look at which foods to limit or avoid if you have diabetes or are at risk of developing it.
Carbohydrates: Monitoring the total carbohydrate intake per meal can help people keep their glucose levels in the target range.
Food has three main carbohydrate types: starch, sugar, and fiber. Starches and sugars pose the biggest problems for people with diabetes because the body breaks these down into glucose.
Starches are broken down through processing before they reach our plates. As a result of this processing, the body quickly absorbs the carbs and converts them into glucose. This increases blood sugar, meaning a person may feel hungry again soon after a meal.
For people with diabetes, some examples of carb sources to avoid include white rice and anything made with white flour only, such as white bread, white pasta, some cereals, some crackers, and many baked goods.
Sugar: Sugary foods mostly contain sugar and low-quality carbohydrates. They often have little or no nutritional value and can cause sharp spikes in blood glucose. Sugar can also contribute to weight gain and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Foods that are often high in sugar include baked foods, such as doughnuts, croissants, cakes, and cookies, as well as pizza dough.
Many premade items in grocery stores contain added sugar, which may not be evident on their ingredient labels. Nutrition labels may refer to added sugar as fruit juice concentrate, molasses, honey, syrup, fructose, or dextrose, for example. Be careful when picking stuff from the grocery store shelf to avoid sugar consumption.
Proteins: Protein is not bad, but you should watch what you eat along with proteins. Choosing the best protein sources largely depends on how much fat and carbohydrates these foods contain. When protein-rich foods are also high in fat, they can lead to weight gain and high cholesterol. Even small amounts of red meat, such as beef, pork, or lamb, may increase the risk of diabetes, although there is protein. Research shows that eating just 50 g of red meat or fish daily can raise diabetes risk by 11%.
Processed meats tend to be high in sodium or salt. People with high blood pressure should also be cautious and limit their sodium intake to no more than 2,300 milligrams per day.
Fats: Unhealthy fats can increase cholesterol levels and contribute to insulin resistance. This may increase the risk of diabetes or contribute to blood sugar spikes in people with the condition. Saturated fats mainly exist in animal products, oils, and processed foods. People should consume less than 10% of their daily calories from saturated fat. Fats from vegetables or seeds are better compared to those from animal sources. Fats that solidify in the cold are bad.
Alcohol: Unsweetened teas, coffees, and zero-calorie drinks, as well as plain water, are safe. Try throwing in some whole fruit pieces to give the water some flavor. Alcoholic beverages can also contain sugar and carbs. People should limit their consumption of alcoholic beverages.
The secret to eating healthily is to select suitable, nutritious foods from each dietary group. On the other hand, it is equally important to avoid bad food.
- Diabetes Diet, Eating, & Physical Activity, NIH, NIDDK Document. Link: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/diet-eating-physical-activity?dkrd=/health-information/diabetes/overview/diet-eating-physical-activity/carbohydrate-counting#limit
- Huaidong Du et.al., Red meat, poultry, and fish consumption and risk of diabetes: a 9-year prospective cohort study of the China Kadoorie Biobank, Diabetologia (2020) 63:767–779
- Sugar 101, American Heart Association. Link: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sugar/sugar-101
- Anize D. von Frankenberg et.al., A high-fat, high-saturated fat diet decreases insulin sensitivity without changing intra-abdominal fat in weight-stable overweight and obese adults, Eur J Nutr. 2017 February ; 56(1): 431–443.
- Alcohol and Diabetes, American Diabetes Association. Link: https://diabetes.org/healthy-living/medication-treatments/alcohol-diabetes
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