Today diabetes has become an epidemic of sorts, both among children and adults around the world.

When uncontrolled, diabetes can affect the heart and kidneys. It can even cause blindness and more complications.

It’s been studied that prediabetes is linked to these conditions.

It’s also known that eating certain kinds of foods raise our blood sugar insulin levels, as well as cause inflammation, and increase disease risk.

This article gives people with diabetes or nearing having diabetes 10 foods and drinks to avoid.

Why does the amount of carbs people with diabetes matter?

Tasty carbs
Photo by Octavian Dan / Unsplash

The macronutrients that give your body energy are carbs, protein, and fat.

But carbs have the greatest impact on blood sugar for the reason that they break down into simpler sugars and glucose and get into your bloodstream.

Fiber, sugar, and starches are part of carbs. But fiber isn’t digested by the body, but absorbed instead. It also doesn’t raise your blood sugar.

Removing fiber from your total carbs in the food you eat gives you the net carb content. Say you ate mixed vegetables with 10 grams of carbs, but 4 of those grams are fiber, this makes the net carb count 6 grams instead.

When people with diabetes eat too many carbs, their blood sugar shoots up to dangerous levels.

With the passage of time, high blood sugar levels damage the body’s blood vessels and nerves, and can cause heart and kidney disease.

We can combat this by eating a low-carb diet.

Below are food and drinks you need to avoid.

1. Sugar-sweetened beverages

The worst drink choice for diabetic people are beverages high in sugar. Not only are they high in carbs, they’re also loaded with fructose which is linked to diabetes and insulin resistance.

It’s true that drinking too much sugar-laden drinks increase the risk of developing diabetes and other related illnesses like fatty liver disease.

It is far better to drink water. But if you can’t help it, go for unsweetened iced tea.

2. Trans fats

Artificial trans fats are absolutely unhealthy.

They’re made when you add hydrogen to unsaturated fatty acids to make them stable.

Trans fats are in spreads, peanut butter, margarines, creamers, crackers, muffins, and many baked goods to extend their shelf life.

Trans fats have been linked to insulin resistance, belly fat, and an increase in inflammation.

Many countries have outlawed trans fats. In 2018, the FDA has banned partially hydrogenated oil, the source of most trans fat in food, in many processed foods.

When you see the words “partially hydrogenated,” it’s best to steer clear from these products.

3. Bread, rice, & pasta

These foods are very high in carbs.

Eating baked goods has been linked to increased blood sugar levels.

This response isn’t only with refined white flour. Even gluten-free pastas were proven to raise blood sugar.

To combat this, one should increase intake of high-fiber food as eating a lot of fiber is shown to improve gut microbiota which leads to better insulin resistance.

4. Yogurt

Photo by Sara Cervera / Unsplash

More dangerous than plain yogurt for diabetics is fruit-flavored yogurt. Flavored yogurts are made from milk and are full of carbs and sugar. Most of its calories come from sugar.

People are mistaken in thinking yogurt isn’t as bad as ice cream, but it can match the sugar content of ice creams.

5. Sweetened cereals

Eating cereal is a bad way to start your day if you have diabetes. Despite stating its a healthy food, many cereals have more carbs that can be harmful for diabetics.

It almost has no protein. If you’re diabetic, it’s best to stick to breakfast food that are high in protein and low in carbs. Like salmon or chicken.

6. Coffee with lots of flavoring

While coffee is linked to reduced diabetes risk, flavored coffee is more like an unhealthy dessert than a healthy beverage.

Flavored coffee is full of carbs. A Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino has about 57 grams of carbs.

Choose plain coffee instead, or an espresso.

7. Dried fruit

Fruits are great sources of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. The best of which are vitamin C and potassium. But dried fruits are devoid of water in pure fruits, and has high concentrations of sugar and carbs.

Go for low sugar fruits like berries, strawberries, olives, and apples instead.

In the Philippines, there are hardly any berries found in the market. So if you live in a place where berries are common and low-priced, it’s best to appreciate them.

8. Packaged snacks

Don’t go for snacks like pretzels and crackers as these are typically made up of refined flour. These can raise your blood sugar drastically.

Rather than packaged snacks, go for nuts, or finger food veggies. You can pair these with cheese to make it more palatable.

9. Fruit juices

Strawberry lemonade for two
Photo by Boba Jaglicic / Unsplash

Fruit juices are known to have the same effect as sodas. Even 100% unsweetened fruit juices.

Fruit juices are loaded with fructose.

Fructose causes insulin resistance, obesity, and problems of the heart.

Water is better than drinking fruit juice.

10. French fries

Potatoes are known to be high in carbs. A medium potato has about 34 grams of carbs. When fried, potatoes can do more harm than spike your blood sugar.

Deep frying potatoes are proven to produce harmful compounds like glycation and aldehydes. These compounds cause inflammation and disease risk.

A slightly better substitute for potatoes are sweet potatoes.

The bottom line

It can be tough not to know which foods to avoid when you’re diabetic or nearing diabetes. But taking note of how your body reacts to certain foods will keep you from experiencing the bad effects of diabetes.

The rule of thumb is to stay away from unhealthy fats, processed sugars, and sugary grains.

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