10 Foods Not to Eat If You Are Diabetic
10 foods you shouldn’t be eating if you’re diabetic (and what you can swap them with)
Diabetes affects millions of people around the world, both the young and the young at heart. Having uncontrolled diabetes, or high blood sugar puts you at risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, nerve damage, certain skin disorders, and other unpleasant conditions.
Living with diabetes can be difficult since you’ll have to be mindful of what you eat and make certain lifestyle changes to ensure you live a long and healthy life. If you’ve just been diagnosed with diabetes or have a relative or friend who is diabetic, it is important to know what foods are a no-no for someone with diabetes, and what you can substitute them for.
Here’s a list of 10 foods you shouldn’t be eating if you’re diabetic:
1. French Fries
Who doesn’t love French fries? This golden, salty goodness is an ideal side, but it’s great on its own with some ketchup or melted cheese.
Hopefully, you enjoyed them while you could, because French fries are the diabetic’s worst enemy. As you already know, French fries are made from white potatoes. These are rich in carbs that break down into starch and sugar in the body. Not only that, but when they are peeled, sliced and fried in oil to become French fries, they are loaded with [toxic, inflammatory compounds] which can lead to obesity, heart disease, and cancer.
If you thought that wasn’t so bad, wait till you hear what the salt does. Salt , or sodium, causes blood pressure to increase and can cause weight gain. This compromises your immune system and increases your risk of heart disease , stroke and kidney failure.
It’s bad, we know, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up potatoes completely. Sweet potatoes are lower on the glycemic index scale than white/Irish potatoes and release sugar slowly, so it doesn’t raise blood sugar rapidly. Sweet potatoes are also rich in Vitamins A and C, and fiber. You can boil them, bake them, roast them or mash them to enjoy as a side or incorporate them into salads and other meals.
2. Sugary Beverages
When you have diabetes, you’ll have to say goodbye to fizzy sodas and juices made from syrup or concentrate. They may be just what you need to cool off or enjoy with a slice of pizza, but sugary beverages are one of the worst things a diabetic can ingest.
For starters, sugary beverages are high in bad carbs, i.e sugars. When these are broken down in the body, they become glucose. High blood glucose, otherwise known as hyperglycemia , causes frequent urination, extreme thirst, blurred vision, and headaches. When this goes unchecked it can lead to skin disorders, nerve damage, slow healing wounds and ketoacidosis which can lead to a coma.
100% fruit juices aren’t much better honestly since they are high in sugars as well and can contribute to insulin resistance. Try switching sweet juices for water, or flavored water by dropping a few citrus fruits, herbs or berries into your pitcher. This is not only diabetes-friendly but can expose you to antioxidants and vitamins. You can also try low-fat or no-fat milk or tomato juice.
3 . Honey and Syrup
Some people prefer to sweeten their teas with honey instead of sugar because it’s natural, has more nutrients and vitamins, and you can use less to achieve the desired sweetening effect.
It turns out that honey is rich in carbs and sugar and can have a similar effect when used excessively. This goes for the syrups you use on your pancakes as well. Instead, use fresh fruit as a topper, avocado or Greek yogurt.
5 . Certain Breakfast Cereals
Cereal is a quick and easy way to get your day started. All you need is the milk and the cereal and you’re through the door in no time. What’s your favorite cereal though? Is it Lucky Charms? How about Frosted Flakes? Granola is so delicious!
If you have diabetes, then you’ll want to avoid starting your day like that. These cereals tout health claims but fail to mention that they are highly processed and have more carbs than is beneficial to you. These cereals also have added sugars, something you should be in the opposite direction of.
Swap them for oatmeal,
bran cereal or ditch cereal altogether if you can’t find one low in carbs and added sugars.
6. Fruity Yogurt
“What’s so bad about yogurt?” is what you’re probably asking, well the answer to that is in the ingredients you see listed on the container.
Now you may see “low fat” written in bold, and that may be true, but they are generally high in carbs and sugars. This is how they achieve the fruity taste that makes them delicious.
What you can do is choose plain yogurt, the “boring kind” since it is a better snack option for diabetics. It is also filling and can help you shed pounds.
7. White Bread
White bread is a part of many meals and is used to make sandwiches or served as a side. This high-carb, low-fiber processed form of flour and yeast can cause a spike in blood sugar and has been known to impact brain function for those with preexisting mental ailments.
Because white bread lacks fiber, it is not filling and will cause you to feel hungry faster. This will lead to more snacking which can lead to weight gain if you’re not careful.
Substitute white bread with whole-grain bread which is a good source of vitamins and dietary fiber. Whole grain bread may also reduce blood cholesterol levels and lessen the risk of high blood pressure, indigestion, and cancer. Genuine sourdough bread and dense rye bread are also great options.
8. White Rice and Pasta
White rice goes with everything really, whether it is fried chicken, curried chickpeas, roasted beef or pork. Pasta is the same and can be the star of your meal. Though both are cheap, convenient and easy to make, they’re bad for diabetics
The reason for this is how they are made. Processed foods generally lose the bulk of their nutritional value in the manufacturing process and typically have a high glycemic index. They are also high in carbs which help to pack on pounds and low in fiber which is key to slowing down the absorption of sugar in the blood.
The good news is that you don’t have to ditch rice altogether. Swap white rice for whole-grain rice. Some alternatives you may want to try are brown rice, black rice, quinoa, pearled barley, and bulgur. Trade in your pasta for spiralized vegetables, sprouts and noodles and pasta made from vegetables.
9. Dried Fruit
Dried fruit is a great snack for when you’re on the go, and makes a great topper to breakfast cereals, pastry, and pancakes. They’re also full of vitamins and nutrients, so that’s a plus.
But do you know what else they’re full of? That’s right, sugar. When fruits are dried, they lose all their water content and what ends up happening is that the sugar becomes super concentrated. For instance, a cup of grapes has about 16 grams of carbs while a cup of raisins has about 115 g of carbs per cup.
Being diabetic doesn’t mean you can’t have fruit, but you will have to be pickier when it comes on to consuming fruits. Include more citrus in your fruit menu since these have antioxidant properties which help to regulate blood sugar levels or fresh berries that contain lots of fiber and antioxidants.
Or, ditch the fruits altogether and swap them for green, leafy veggies.
10. Packaged Snacks
If you’re a parent, or live a fast-paced life, you don’t have time to make meals from scratch three times a day. So, you stock up on the healthiest package snacks you can find which promise to be better for health than the other brands.
The truth about it is they are generally high in sugar and other carbs and low in nutrients. Many of these ingredients are also hidden carbs that you’ve probably never thought about researching, that’s if it’s even in English!
Skip the granola bar and have a handful of walnuts or veggie sticks. A fruit plate or vegetable salad is also a great option that can hold you over until your next meal.
Corn in its natural state is carb-rich so just imagine when it’s processed and turned into things like cornmeal, popcorn, sweet corn and corn dogs. In comparison to other vegetables, corn has an above glycemic index of 52 meaning it contains a lot of sugar which gets absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. Such a spike in someone with diabetes can cause fatigue, frequent bathroom breaks and extreme thirst. If these high levels are maintained over time, it can have several negative side effects. Swap the corn in your soups and other dishes for beans and lentils.
Many people believe that once you’re diabetic, your life ends and that you have to stick to some strict, bland diet to stay healthy. That is far from the truth since there are many great meal options that will help to keep your blood sugar levels stable without making meal times boring.