When it comes to blood sugar management, knowing which foods diabetic patients should avoid (or significantly limit their intake) is as important as knowing what foods to eat to improve glycemic control.
To help you follow a healthy diet that contributes to maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, here we are highlighting the top five foods diabetic patients should avoid or strictly limit, along with some tips and suggestions on better (healthier) alternatives:
1. Sugary Foods
While most people know that you shouldn’t eat sweets and soda if you are diabetic, many people often miss out or overlook the fact that many seemingly healthier dietary options include quite a significant amount of added sugar. These include most breakfast cereals, cookies, granolas, energy bars sauces, juices, and sports/energy drinks, to name a few.
All these products, including many that are marketed as ‘healthier’, have similar effects on your blood glucose as other sugar-rich products and can cause blood sugar spikes.
Replace your morning bowl of Frosted Flakes with homemade oatmeal. You can top it with some fruits or nuts to make it healthier and to enhance the taste.
2. Fruit Juices
It is common for people to assume that there is no harm in consuming fruit juices that do not contain any added sugar. After all, they are made from healthy and nutritious whole fruits.
But, unfortunately, that’s not the case!
Fruit juices, even if they are 100% pure and do not contain added sugar, are packed with natural fruit sugar and cause blood sugar spikes the same way as other store-bought drinks. Furthermore, they do not contain the natural fiber present in whole fruits, which means fruit juices are not as nutritious as most of us think.
Therefore, health experts always recommend eating whole fruits than consuming fruit juices, not just for diabetic patients, but for everyone.
However, if you want to enjoy a drink, naturally flavored waters are a good option. Infuse water with mint and/or cucumber or add a spritz of lime or lemon in it for a refreshing drink that doesn’t spike your blood sugar level.
3. Dried Fruits
Similar to the case of fruit juices, considering dried fruits equally as healthy as fresh fruit is another common mistake many diabetic patients make.
But, aren’t dried fruits just dehydrated fruits? What’s wrong with them?
The dehydration process, unfortunately, leads to the concentration of carbs and sugar in the fruit. Simply put, dried fruits have a lot more carbohydrates (which are converted sugar) than fresh fruit. To give you an idea, a cup of fresh cranberries contains 4 grams of sugar, but the same quantity of dried cranberries contain a whopping 70 grams of carbs. Note that we are not talking about the candied varieties here, which contain a lot of added sugar as well.
To sum up, whether you are a diabetic patient or watching your sugar intake for any other reason, it is recommended that you choose whole fresh fruits instead of the dried ones. This doesn’t mean you cannot even munch on a few dried fruits. Overall, dried fruits are packed with a variety of nutrients and make good snacks, so you can have them in limited quantities, if you are following a comprehensive blood sugar management plan.
4. Fried Food
Whether it’s chicken or chips, fried food is unarguably delicious. But, not only is it high in fat, it also often has a high-carb content; thanks to the bread coatings that we get that crisp and crunch from. Refined carbohydrates, as has long been established, are quickly digested by the body and cause the blood sugar levels to rise.
Therefore, it is recommended to limit the intake of fried foods for not only keeping your blood glucose level in control, but also for overall health maintenance.
Even if not breaded, fried food can indirectly worsen your diabetes by contributing to weight gain, which is known to increase insulin resistance.
5. White/ Refined Carbs
Refined carbohydrates and starches are considered the worst quality of carbohydrates. They are present in abundant quantity in white flour, white rice, white pasta, and white bread (anything that is made of white flour)and have similar effects on the body and blood glucose levels as sugar. This is because refined carbs are simple carbohydrates that are quickly broken down by the body into sugar causing unhealthy blood sugar spikes.
Foods containing refined carbs are also processed foods that have been ripped of all the essential nutrients. This means when you eat refined carbs, you consume empty calories that also increase the risk of weight gain.
To keep your blood sugar levels within a healthy range, replace all the refined carbs with their whole-grain versions, such as brown rice, brown pasta, and whole-grain breads.
These are our top five blood sugar spiking foods diabetic patients should avoid. For other tips on blood sugar management, download our free Ebook today./a>