Diabetes is a serious disease caused by impairment in the production of the hormone insulin, which causes elevated blood sugar levels. Uncontrolled high blood sugar levels cause damage to organs, nerves, and blood vessels, which may induce serious complications, such as nerve damage, kidney damage, cardiovascular disease, strokes, foot damage, skin conditions, hearing impairments, and Alzheimer's disease. While it is unfortunate that diabetes has no known cure, it is treatable and manageable with a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Some whole fruits have more sugar than others. Individuals with diabetes do not have to avoid all whole fruits because it is the total number of carbohydrates consumed that matters. For this reason, fruit containing fewer carbohydrates can be consumed in larger portions whereas fruit containing more carbohydrates should be consumed in smaller portions. In general, whole fruits contain nutrition and fiber, which make them a desirable food choice for diabetes patients. However, in fruit products, much of the nutrition and fiber is processed out, and the remaining product usually contains concentrated fructose, which makes blood sugar spike. Thus, although diabetes patients can eat natural fruits in moderation, it is best for them to avoid processed fruit and fruit products.
Products Made With White Flour
White flour is flour that has been refined and stripped of its bran and germ. White flour offers a light and soft texture, so it is popular in many baked goods, including bread, crackers, cereal, cookies, and cakes, and is often used in sauces and gravies. White flour makes blood sugar spike in the same way processed sugary treats do. This is because much of the fiber and nutrients in flour that would help slow digestion are removed during processing. In addition to spiking blood sugar levels, foods with white flour are usually easy to overeat because the lack of fiber prevents individuals from feeling full and makes them feel hungry again sooner. Diabetes patients who still want flour should look for whole wheat flour, almond flour, and coconut flour instead.
Fatty Cuts Of Red Meat
Researchers have found red meat and processed meat, which are linked to colorectal cancer and cardiovascular disease, increase an individual's risk of type 2 diabetes. Although there is no standard guideline for how much red meat individuals with prediabetes or diabetes should eat, experts suggest reducing the amount of red meat as much as possible and focusing on white meats, such as chicken, fish, and other seafood. When individuals with diabetes do eat red meat, they should select leaner cuts to reduce the amount of saturated fat they consume. Furthermore, when they prepare the meat themselves, they should trim off any visible fat. Grass-fed beef tends to be leaner and contains more omega-3 fatty acids.
Whole Cow's Milk
Along with red meat, fatty milk from cows contains high levels of saturated fat, so diabetes patients should avoid consuming it. Many animal fat products, such as cheese, butter, and red meat contain high amounts of saturated fat. Studies have revealed saturated fats are linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Individuals with diabetes have an increased risk of heart disease, so avoiding saturated fats, which raise blood cholesterol levels, is particularly important. Too much bad cholesterol causes a buildup of plaque in the arteries, which restricts blood flow to the heart. Consuming animal products high in saturated fats is the most common cause of heart disease.
Alcohol can be harmful to diabetes patients in several ways. Alcohol that is high in carbohydrates can cause blood sugar levels to spike while also stimulating the appetite, which causes overeating. Alcohol also tends to impair judgment and willpower, which may result in poor food and drink choices that are harmful to a diabetes patient's health. These individuals have an increased risk of liver and nerve damage, eye disease, dehydration, inflammation of the pancreas, and high blood pressure when alcohol is consumed.
If individuals with diabetes plan to drink alcohol, they should consult with their doctor first to ensure it is safe to do so. Some tips for drinking alcohol include drinking no more than two drinks in one day for men and no more than one drink in a day for women, drinking alcohol with food, drinking slowly, avoiding mixed and sweet drinks, mixing alcohol with water or club soda, and wearing a medical alert sign indicating the owner has diabetes.
Individuals with diabetes must constantly monitor their intake of food, particularly carbohydrates and sugar. Eating healthy foods reduces the risk of diabetes and lessens symptom severity. Consuming sugary drinks, on the other hand, increases the risk of diabetes and other diseases. Soda is very high in sugar, containing about sixteen tablespoons per can, which causes a spike in an individual's blood sugar when consumed.
Soda also contributes to weight gain because liquid sugar adds empty calories without making individuals feel full. Furthermore, sugar is an addictive substance because it releases dopamine, which induces feelings of reward and pleasure. Diet soda is not a healthy alternative as it is full of unhealthy additives and has no nutritional benefits. It is also associated with weight gain and many diseases. Instead of soda, try healthy beverages, such as infused water, sparkling water, unsweetened tea, or even low-fat milk.
Chips And Snack Foods
Snack foods, including chips, tend to be packed with unhealthy ingredients and plenty of carbohydrates. Diabetes patients should avoid these because they cause a spike in blood sugar and increase the risk of complications from diabetes. Most chips and snack foods have little nutritional value and do not leave individuals who consume them feeling satiated, so they are easy to overeat. Snack foods also tend to promote tooth decay, weight gain, and heart disease. Mindful snacking on nutritious foods can be beneficial for individuals with diabetes because it boosts their energy and intake of essential nutrients. However, careless snacking on foods that provide little nutritional benefit and cause blood sugar levels to spike only harm the efforts of diabetes patients to improve their health.
Individuals affected by diabetes should stay away from fruit-flavored yogurts. Without adhering to the proper diet, it is extremely difficult for a diabetes patient to control their blood sugar levels, even with the help of medication. All yogurt that has any sweet taste has been sweetened with natural sugars, artificial sugars, or artificial flavor. Natural yogurt with nothing in it actually tastes sour and has a bit of a tang to it, because it is a product of milk fermentation.
Non-fat milk or low-fat milk are typically used to make flavored yogurts, which are loaded with sugar and carbohydrates afterward to enhance the taste. As much as forty-seven grams of sugar can be disguised in a 245-gram cup of fruit-flavored yogurt. Many individuals may feel frozen fruit-flavored yogurt is a better alternative to ice cream, but frozen yogurt often has more sugar than ice cream. Any type of yogurt labeled as a diet or low-fat product is especially unhealthy for diabetes patients, as the reduced fat content is compensated for in the form of extra carbohydrates and sugar.
Sweetened Breakfast Cereal
Diabetes patients are advised to avoid consuming sweetened breakfast cereal. Most individuals do not know just how many carbohydrates are in cereal, and how processed it is. Also, most individuals have a misconception about how much an average serving of breakfast cereal is. Three-fourths of a cup of cereal usually represents one serving, with twenty-four grams of carbohydrates. Individuals with diabetes may feel adding fruit or honey to their unsweetened cereal is a safer option, but this is still adding sugar and calories.
Sweeteners added to cereal can come in the form of many names, including agave nectar, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, malt syrup, maple syrup, raw sugar, crystalline fructose, evaporated cane juice, fruit juice concentrates, honey, maltose, molasses, and sucrose. While not all cereals contain these sweeteners, they all do contain carbohydrates because they are made from grains. Even in the absence of sugar, carbohydrates alone will increase an individual's blood glucose. Furthermore, adding milk to the cereal as most individuals do will increase the sugar and carbohydrate content of the cereal.
Honey And Maple Syrup
Individuals affected by diabetes should avoid honey and maple syrup. These patients often try to limit their intake of what they perceive to be sugar, such as white table sugar and brown sugar-containing food products. While other sweeteners may be better choices for individuals not affected by diabetes, they are no better or worse than regular table sugar for those with the condition.
The reason for this is that these types of sweeteners have the same content of carbohydrates in them as other highly processed sweeteners. A one-tablespoon portion of white sugar contains 12.6 grams of carbohydrates, while the same quantity of natural honey contains seventeen grams of carbohydrates. A tablespoon portion of agave nectar contains sixteen grams of carbohydrates, while a tablespoon of maple syrup contains thirteen grams of carbohydrates. Because of the carb content in honey and maple syrup, they have the same adverse impact on a diabetes patient's blood glucose levels and control as the same amount of typical white table sugar.
Dried fruit and foods containing dried fruit should be avoided by individuals affected by diabetes. Fresh fruit is an abundant source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. However, the pitfalls to fresh fruit, including inconvenience, preparation, and short shelf life, can cause an individual to choose dried fruit instead. Dried fruit is still fruit, but the water in the fruit has been removed. The process of doing so is called dehydration and can be accomplished by hot air drying, solar drying, or oven drying. Other methods include freeze drying, microwave drying, heat pump drying, and vacuum drying.
During the dehydration process, the fruit undergoes numerous chemical and physical changes. The changes can differ slightly from one method to the next, but the core result is similar amongst them all. Dried fruit reduces in size considerably when the water is removed from it, which results in a much smaller piece of fruit that contains the same amounts of vitamins, minerals, and sugars. The higher concentration of sugar is what poses a problem for diabetes patients. Individuals are also likely to eat a larger portion of dried fruits than fresh fruit because fresh fruit contains water that fills them up quicker.
Diabetes patients are always advised to avoid fatty, oily, starchy foods such as french fries to effectively manage their disease. Carbohydrates are macronutrients necessary in an individual's everyday diet, but many overindulge in them without understanding what happens once they enter the body. All carbohydrates are broken down in into sugar, and insulin transports this sugar to the cells around the body for energy. This process is impaired in those affected by diabetes, causing the glucose to build up in the blood until it is mediated naturally or through medication. Not all carbohydrates are equal. Complex carbohydrates that have abundant sources of fiber are metabolized into glucose at a slow rate, which gives the insulin in the body (natural or through medication) more time to remove it from the blood.
However, sweet foods, starchy foods, white bread, and potatoes represent simple or refined carbohydrates. These types of carbohydrates are metabolized into sugars at a much faster rate than complex carbohydrates. The fast metabolism does not allow insulin to perform as effectively because it is unable to remove glucose from the blood as faster than it is being generated. This impairment leads to increased blood sugar levels even in healthy individuals, which can be detrimental for those with diabetes. French fries are rich in simple and refined carbohydrates, which results in a sharp blood sugar spike.