About 30 million Americans have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.
30 million is a pretty high number and is continuing to increase as individuals continue to eat poorly and live a sedentary lifestyle.
If you are diabetic, you can control your blood sugar with diet, exercise, and insulin. But, it all depends on the type of diabetes that you have.
Type 1 diabetes is when the body cannot produce enough of a hormone called insulin. Our bodies need insulin to bring sugar from our blood into our cells, in order to create energy.
Individuals with Type 1 typically need to administer insulin into their bodies, using an injection or a pump. This requires training and caution because if too much insulin is administered, blood sugar can get dangerously low.
Type 2 diabetes is the more common form that is usually caused by lifestyle factors, such as poor eating habits and lack of exercise. In this case, the body can no longer use insulin properly, leaving them in a prolonged state of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia). The body may also begin to create less insulin.
For both types of diabetes, a well-planned diet is necessary for optimal health. Proper meal timing may also be important, especially if taking medication.
What are some foods to avoid with diabetes?
Here are six foods that you should avoid if you’re diabetic.
1. Sugary Specialty Coffee Drinks
Now, a cup of black coffee is great because it has very little calories and carbohydrates.
But did you know your morning specialty coffee drink – which has added cream, sweetener, or sugar – could contain more sugar than a can of soda?
For example, a Matcha Green Tea Creme Frappuccino from Starbucks has 400 calories and 65g of sugar, and that’s only a medium (16 fl oz) sized one!
Frappuccinos, lattes, and other specialty drinks are even worse.
To reduce sugar spikes, opt for a plain cup of tea or black coffee in the morning instead. These are great sugar-free and low-calorie alternatives.
Drinking coffee may play a role in preventing type 2 diabetes, according to several research studies. On the other hand, there is evidence supporting that coffee intake may spike blood sugar in the short term. According to the American Diabetes Association, “people with Type 1 diabetes may see a rise in blood glucose after drinking coffee alone. More research is needed on the effects of coffee in individuals with diabetes, but it can be enjoyed in moderation.”
2. Fried Fish and Chicken
Fish and chicken are great healthy lean meats, right?
They are only great lean meats when they grilled or oven roasted. Not when they’re battered and deep-fried in vegetable oil. Fried foods typically add extra calories and carbohydrates that are unnecessary, especially for people who are trying to limit their calorie intake.
Typically a fried chicken or fish meal at a sit-down restaurant includes fries, coleslaw, mashed potatoes, or hush puppies. This meal can contain more than a thousand calories, which is too much for anyone to be consuming in just one meal.
For example at KFC, just one Original Recipe chicken breast has 740 calories, according to their website. That’s so many calories just for one chicken breast without any sides. Imagine if you were to add sides. Then your calorie count will definitely be over 1000 calories.
Stick with oven-roasted salmon or chicken seasoned with lemon and rosemary. It’s recommended to eat poultry or fish without the skin even if they are grilled. Have roasted sweet potatoes and green beans as your side dishes.
3. Chinese Take-Out
Common Chinese take-out food items include white or fried rice, orange chicken, pork dumplings, and lo mein.
These items are not diabetic-friendly because they are loaded with salty sauces, refined carbs, and sometimes sugar. All of these components combined may increase blood pressure and cause spikes in blood sugar.
For example at Panda Express, if you get fried rice with orange chicken – that’s 900 calories, 1470 mg of sodium and 22g of sugar. And to put things into perspective that’s only two items.
If you do have the urge to eat some Chinese food eat the steamed vegetables with mushroom chicken and avoid adding soy sauce (this will help keep your blood pressure down).
4. Store-Bought Desserts
Store-Bought Desserts = blood sugar spikes and frequent trips to the bathroom.
For example, three Chips Ahoy cookies have 11 g of sugar, 2.5g of saturated fats, and 22g of carbs. Although it may not sound like a lot of sugar or carbs, if you have more than three cookies those numbers can easily add up.
And if you would like a slice of cake with frosting that’s another story. Fitbit shares the nutritional facts of a slice of chocolate cake from Zoe’s Kitchen. This slice of cake has 600 calories, 73g of sugar, 92g of carbs, and 370 mg of sodium.
Avoid these processed treats as much as possible because they contain a lot of refined sugars, artificial flavors, sodium, and saturated fats.
Eat fresh fruit if you are craving something sweet instead. The best choices of fruit are any that are fresh, frozen or canned without added sugars. Choose canned fruits in juice or light syrup. Dried fruit and 100% fruit juice are also nutritious choices, but the portion sizes are small so they may not be as filling as other choices.
Avoid restaurant burgers at all costs because they are not designed with your health in mind.
Besides being high in saturated fat and cholesterol – cheeseburgers are usually served on white buns with fries. These carbs will only increase your blood sugar, increase your risk of heart disease, and weight.
For example, a cheeseburger from In-N-Out has 480 calories, 10g of saturated fat, 60g of cholesterol, and 39g of carbohydrates. Meanwhile, a protein style burger has 520 calories, 17g of saturated fat, 120g of cholesterol, and 11g of carbohydrates.
If you need a burger fix, try a veggie patty option wrapped in lettuce. This vegetarian option will have less fat and cholesterol. Also, have vegetables on the side because french fries don’t count.
6. Soft Drinks
Soft drinks are dangerous beverages to have because they can impact your blood sugar immensely.
Soda contains more refined sugar than anyone should be consuming. For example, 16 oz of Coca-Cola Classic has 54g of sugar!
Plus, they are full of artificial ingredients and chemicals you want to avoid.
Instead, try plain coffee, tea, or add lemon to your water for some extra flavor. If that transition is too hard for you, you can start off with diet or zero-calorie sodas.
Those are the foods that you should avoid if you are diabetic.
There are plenty of healthier options out there for you to have to replace the food on this list.
Eat fresh organic fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and grilled lean proteins on a daily basis for a well-balanced diet.
Disclaimer: If you’re diabetic, please consult with your doctor or visit the American Diabetes Association for additional information.