6 Foods to Avoid with Diabetes (at All Costs!)

Diabetes Diet, Diabetes Lifestyle, Diet

No French Fries
For people with diabetes, food choices can have a huge impact on blood glucose.

You’ll want to avoid foods that can cause your blood sugar levels to spike. You’ll also need to watch your intake of calories, salt and fat. That’s because diabetics are more likely to be overweight and to have additional health issues such as high blood pressure or heart disease, which can be further impacted by poor food choices.

A diabetes diet doesn’t have to be overly restrictive, but you need to be aware of the effects that foods (and drinks) can have on your diabetes and overall health. The following foods and beverages should be avoided:

1. Fruit juice

  • Why: Fruit juice has concentrated fruit sugar and can cause your blood sugar to spike. The juice also won’t help fill you up. It has some vitamins but lacks fiber.
  • Try this instead: Whole fruit such as an apple or pear is a good source of fiber that won’t raise your blood sugar levels too quickly. Or even a cup of berries – low in glycemic index and full of antioxidants!

2. French fries

  • Why: High in fat calories and salt, French fries also raise your blood sugar levels quickly. Even a small order of fast-food fries is high in carbohydrates and can make your blood sugar levels spike. ”Supersizing” makes their impact even worse.
  • Try this instead: Boiled or baked potatoes (high in vitamin C and potassium!) don’t raise your blood sugar level as quickly. Best pick: Sweet potatoes, which are also high in beta-carotene (vitamin A). If it’s salt you’re craving, lightly-salted almonds or low-sodium crackers are better choices.

3. Cereals high in sugar and low in fiber

  • Why: Cereal can be a quick and easy choice for breakfast, but many are loaded with added sugar or refined flours which can heighten blood sugar levels. Generally, corn flakes, puffed rice and puffed wheat cereals should be avoided, especially the ones with added sweet coatings! While the serving size listed on the box is usually a cup, often many people eat more. This makes the amount of sugar and refined flour you’re getting even higher.
  • Try this instead: Try bran cereals, which have fiber and aren’t as high on the glycemic index (the measure of how particular foods raise your blood sugar levels). Oatmeal (not the pre-packaged servings, which add sugar) is also a good choice. Old-fashioned rolled oats have a low glycemic index (GI) of 55 for ½ cup serving, compared to “quick” oats, which has a GI of 65.

4. Breakfast pastries

  • Why: Pastries such as cinnamon rolls, doughnuts and toaster pastries are usually high in calories, carbohydrates, sodium and processed white flour. They have virtually no nutritional benefit.
  • Try this instead: Eat a whole-grain English muffin or a multi-grain rice cake. Rice cakes are now available in a wide variety of interesting flavors, like blueberry and chocolate.

5. Thick-crust pizza

  • Why: Thick-crust pizza loaded with meat and extra cheese is high in calories, fat, sodium and carbohydrates. And if you’re like most people, you don’t stop at just one slice.
  • Try this instead: Try a slice of thin-crust pizza with a lot of veggies, and test your blood sugar before and after to see what effect it has.

6. Specialty coffee drinks

  • Why: Coffee shops are popular destinations with a variety of tempting specialty drinks. Many are high in calories, carbohydrates and fat. And since they’re not a meal and shouldn’t be substituted for one, you’re getting a lot of calories without much nutritional value in return.
  • Try this instead: Drink a cup of coffee with a little milk added.

In addition to the advice of your doctor, a diabetes nurse educator or registered dietician are excellent resources to find out about the best nutritional choices for you. They can help you learn how foods impact your diabetes and overall health, as well as help you to create a customized, health eating plan to manage your diabetes. By testing your blood glucose levels as recommended and keeping track of what you eat, you can learn what foods cause your blood sugar to raise too high. Bon appétit!

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