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Foods To Avoid When You Suffer From Diabetes

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9.4% of the population in the United States suffer from diabetes, a huge number that seems to be increasing year after year. It is also the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. with millions not taking the condition seriously, resulting in more people being at risk of developing diabetes.

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These alarming figures have proven that if this rapid trend continues, one in three people will have full blown diabetes by 2050. In combating this, the American Diabetes Association has noted that an effective nutrition plan will slow down the progression of diabetes and improve blood glucose, reduce the risk of high blood pressure and cholesterol and reduce body fat. Here’s the foods that should be avoided at all costs. 

Canned vegetables

Just because they are vegetables doesn’t mean they are good for you. Canned vegetables are packed with sodium to ensure their shelf life and diabetes sufferers should be cutting down on their salt intake, not increasing it.

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Buying fresh vegetables that go bad in a couple of days is the only way to consume these nutrients for a healthy diet. Even though many of the newer brand of canned vegetables that don’t have added salt, many of the important nutrients found in these vegetables are lost when they are stored for long periods of time. 

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White bread

White bread is high in starches and refined grains which are all round bad for those who suffer from diabetes. Refined grains are digested like sugar as they are processed through the body quickly.

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Even though it doesn’t have sugar for the most part, white bread can cause blood glucose spikes which should be avoided as they are a danger for those with diabetes. White bread is low in fiber and other nutrients so it considered an unhealthy option when consuming carbohydrates.

Alcohol

Although having an alcoholic beverage to unwind doesn’t seem so detrimental to your health, people with diabetes should really avoid alcohol as much as possible. Alcohol is known for altering the body’s response to insulin and this is something that can have profound affect upon people with diabetes.

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On top of the insulin levels, alcohol contains plenty of sugar, especially mixed drinks which use sugar and syrups to make them sweet. The change in levels of blood sugar can be very dangerous for those with type 1 diabetes. 

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Smoothies

When it comes to drinking smoothies, you may be thinking that you are getting your five-a-day in one go, but this is actually incorrect. Fruit contains plenty of natural sugars that can be good for the body, but when you buy smoothies, there is so much added sugar that goes into them to make them taste great.

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Added sugar, syrup and yogurt can be bad for those who suffer from diabetes and they are much better off eating the fruit whole. The fiber that comes from a piece of fruit helps the body digest the sugar slowly.

Red meat

Any heart association or health NGO will tell you that red meat can be very dangerous for your arteries and heart health. It is extremely high in saturated fats which can lead to cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

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If you already have diabetes, the best thing to do is completely cut it out as the nitrates and nitrites in the meat increase insulin resistance and can have detrimental effect on the function of the pancreas too. It is much better to eat lean meats including chicken and turkey in favor of red meat.

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Regular soda

Normal soda is incredibly bad for those who have diabetes and for those who don’t, they run the risk of contracting it by drinking these sugar-packed drinks. A 12-ounce can of soda has as much as 39 grams of sugar and these drinks can reduce the ability of diabetes sufferers to control their blood glucose.

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Studies have found that sugar and sweetened beverages contribute to the fast progression of insulin resistance and prediabetes. Not only does it increase sugar levels, but the high calories in the drinks can make you gain weight without realizing it. 

Ice cream

Who doesn’t love an ice cream here and there and although it doesn’t seem as unhealthy as eating candy, it is extremely bad for those with diabetes. It is high in fats and sugars with some brand containing more than 7 grams of fat and 14 grams of sugar for just half a cup of ice cream.

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If you love ice cream and just can’t cut it out of your diet, there are plenty of healthy alternatives that are sold in grocery stores that are made with all natural ingredients and don’t contain sugar. 

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Fruit juice

Fruit juice might seem like a great and delicious way to consume healthy fruits, but it happens to be loaded with added sugar, making it no more healthy than soda.

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One 15.2-ounce bottle of Minute Maid Apple Juice contains 49 grams of sugar when the average male adult should not be consuming more than 37.5 grams in one day and females shouldn’t consume more than 25 grams. The way to consume juice is by getting it freshly squeezed with no added sugar and the only ingredient in the juice should be the fruit itself.

Candy

An obvious food to avoid when you have diabetes, candy should be avoided at all costs. Candy is just pure sugar and preservatives which wreck the way that insulin works within the body.

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Diabetics want to keep their blood sugar levels as low as possible and candy causes a significant spike when it is consumed. If you cut out candy for a few weeks, you body and taste buds will adapt and you won’t crave as much sweetness afterwards.   

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White rice

White rice might seem like a healthier alternative to eating bread or fries, but it actually contains high levels of starch and can cause spikes in blood sugar. Refined carbohydrates should be avoided as much as possible as they are processed like sugar when digested in the body.

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As an alternative, brown rice is much healthier as it has more fiber and does not result in blood sugar spikes. In addition, sushi rice contains even more sugar to give it that sweet and sticky texture so watch how much sushi you are eating. 

Canned fruit

While it may seem like a great way to get your nutrients, canned fruit is actually really bad for you. The fruit is packed in glucose and sugar to keep it from going bad and for people who suffer from diabetes, they need to avoid this.

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Fruit cups have 15 grams of sugar and this is a huge amount of your daily intake that will cause a spike in blood sugar and throw your insulin levels out. Even though some fruit cups have labels that say no added sugar, they are sweetened with stevia which can still have up to 5 grams of sugar in it. 

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Coffee with cream and sugar

A plain espresso is next to zero calories and doesn’t contain any sugar or dairy, but when you start adding creamer and sugar not only the sugar levels rise significantly, so do the calories.

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Many coffee shops load their coffee with cream and sugar to make a latte or cappuccino taste so much better and customers think that their coffee is still low in calories – it isn’t. People with diabetes should make their coffee at home instead to know exactly what goes into it, or simply stick with an espresso. 

Fried food

Fried foods are one of the worst things that a person with diabetes could eat. Not only does it lead to significant weight gain, but it also causes a massive spike in your blood sugar, something that these people need to control as much as possible.

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Whether it is donuts and other fried desserts or french fries and potato chips, it all comes under the same bracket and should be avoided at all costs. Instead of deep frying, use an olive oil and bake in the oven instead. This is a much healthier alternative. 

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Biscuits and gravy

People in the south should listen up as one of the favorite foods is the guilty snack of biscuits and gravy, but it shouldn’t be a surprise that it is really bad for you. Many of the cities where biscuits and gravy are a regular on menus are the cities that tend to have higher levels of obesity.

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The biscuits are made from refined flour which causes a spike in glucose levels and the gravy is often made from sausage which is high in saturated fats.  

Chinese food

You might think you are getting protein and nutrients from the meat and vegetables in Chinese food, but for the most part, all of this food is fried or deep fried. Breaded chicken is very high in calories and the sauces which are doused over it are packed with MSG, preservatives, sugar and sodium.

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Most chinese dishes are filled with salt, which makes them taste good, but it is terrible for your arteries and heart health. If you want to eat chinese food, it is much better to make it yourself. 

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Processed deli meat

Deli meat might seem low in calories, but on the same token it is absolutely packed with sodium and preservatives containing nitrates. Aside from causing high blood pressure, these nitrates have also been linked to cancers.

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Eating a lot of deli meat will affect insulin levels and in turn, harm your body. The meats have been heavily linked to causing type 2 diabetes and those who suffer from the condition should substitute this by eating lean meat including chicken and turkey.   

Frozen foods

Eating frozen meals is an easy and effective way to eat a full meal when you don’t have time to prepare one, nor the means to go out for a meal. However, these cheap frozen meals could be doing you a lot more harm than good.

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They are actually very high in sodium and fat which makes them an unhealthy choice for any individual, but for those with diabetes the effects are even worse. The sodium can cause an increase in your blood pressure and affect you insulin levels which need to be monitored. 

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Flavored water

For those who don’t drink enough water, flavored water seems like a great way to stay hydrated throughout the day without consuming unhealthy sodas, but they really aren’t good for you.

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Many of these water brands were disguised as healthy before companies had to come clean about how they are not good for the body. Brands including VitaminWater have as much as 32 grams of sugar in them, more than the recommended daily intake. Instead, choose flavored water without sugar. 

Pizza

While pizza is known not to be the healthiest of meals, it can be doing much more damage than you’d think. The white dough and full-fat cheese provides no nutrients, not to mention how much sodium is packed into the dough, the cheese and tomato sauce, and this is without any toppings.

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Not only will it harm your heart health, but it will also increase your blood pressure. If you are craving a slice, go for a thin-crust option with more tomato sauce and veggies than a thick cheese topping.

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Watermelon

Watermelon is a delicious choice of fruit – especially on hot and sunny days. The problem with it though, is that it has a lot of sugar and a very high glycemic index (GI).

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That means that if you eat a lot of it, your blood sugar levels will spike. It is best advised to eat it in limited qualities as not to affect your diabetes negatively.

Italian food

Italian food is one of the most indulgent culinary foods on the planet. It has exquisite cuisine rich in culture and history. Unfortunately, most of Italian food consists of carbohydrates.

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Your typical Italian restaurant menu showcases choices of many different types of pastas, often laden with sauces that may, or may not have sugar in it. If you are going to eat Italian, stick to the meat dishes like Fiorentina steak.

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Mexican food

Mexican food is absolutely delicious and there is so much you can do with it, adding more or less heat where you please.

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The big problem with Mexican food, if you have diabetes, are the tacos and tortillas. The tacos are usually made from corn so a limited amount is alright, but sometimes the tortillas are made from flour which will spike your blood sugar.

Potatoes

You would never imagine that regular potatoes can do harm to your body if you have diabetes, but they do. Normal potatoes have a very high glycemic index. They may taste delicious, but you won’t feel too great after you eat it.

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However, if you are really craving the taste of potatoes, baby potatoes and sweet potatoes are great alternatives, as they have a much lower glycemic index.

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Grapes

Similar to watermelon, grapes are packed with sugar. The problem with grapes is also the fact that they are highly addictive. Once you have a bunch of grapes you usually eat all of it.

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Grapes either come in red or white varieties. Red grapes tend to be healthier as their skin contains resveratrol, which is a powerful antioxidant. It is wise to keep them limited if you choose to consume them.

Breakfast cereal

Breakfast cereal is alright to consume if it is made with a lot of healthy, unprocessed fiber but, most cereals today are laden with a ton of hidden sugars.

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The worst part of consuming this kind of food when you have diabetes, is that it is the first thing you eat after waking up. If you suffer with diabetes, this kind of food will spike your blood sugar for the next few hours of the day, and you may become irritable and tired.

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Shellfish

If you have type 2 diabetes, it is recommended to eat white and oily fish on a regular basis. However, the same health benefits do not apply to diabetics when eating shellfish.

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In 2009, a study was performed in the UK that found that both men as well as women who ate similar portions of shellfish increased their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by a massive 36%. This mainly applied to prawns, mussels and crabs.

Irish food

Irish food is an absolute culinary delight. However, most their dishes have piles of potatoes, and are laden with tons of pork varieties. Boxty is a very popular Irish potato pancake and will spike your blood sugar levels immediately. Irish cottage pie will do the same.

Colcannon is also a mashed potato dish full of milk, butter and scallions. There is also a lot of saturated fat found in black pudding (blood sausages), which is a very famous dish in Ireland. If you are going to eat Irish food stick to dishes like apples and cabbage, salads and roasted turnips. If you have Irish beef stew make sure it is piled with healthy vegetables.

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Rice noodles

Rice noodles are actually very safe for you if you have diabetes, however, if you choose to have boiled dried rice noodles, instead of the fresh variety, their glycemic index jumps from 40 to 61.

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Certain Asian dishes include rice noodle dishes with beef or shellfish, and a lot of sauce containing hidden sugars. This then makes these dishes have a very high GI (glycemic index).

Raisins

We have already covered the fact that grapes can be very bad for you if you suffer with diabetes. Raisins are dried grapes and its sugar content is highly concentrated.

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If you are going to eat raisins, keep it limited or mix it up in a healthy trail mix full of healthy nuts and seeds. Raisins are a healthier alternative to candy but just know that if you are going to dig into this snack, keep it at a limited amount.

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Tea with sugar

Tea is fantastic for you if you have diabetes, especially green tea and tea with cinnamon (cinnamon helps stabilize your blood sugar levels). However, if you choose to add teaspoon after teaspoon of sugar to your cup of tea, you will only raise your blood sugar levels.

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Make sure that if you have tea to stick to teas with natural flavors. There are many herbal teas on the market today. If you must have added sweetness to your tea, use natural sweeteners like stevia.

Ketchup

Ketchup is a sauce that has been a firm favorite among millions around the world for decades. It goes well with most foods from hamburgers to hot dogs, and is the perfect condiment to french fries.

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However, your typical 100 grams of ketchup contains 26 grams of carbohydrates, and 22 grams of sugar. It is tomato based, and that’s the healthy part, but in order to sweeten it, a great deal of sugar has to be added. If you must have your daily fix of ketchup, stick to healthy and natural varieties that can be found at health shops.

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Croissants

Croissants are delightful French pastries that make the perfect addition to any breakfast or tea break. However, if you have diabetes, it is best to avoid them.

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Croissants are made with white flour and lots of sugar in order to taste just perfect. Often they come with chocolate inside. Typical spreads for croissants include jams and fat laden cheese. If you wish to have a croissant, keep it for weekends.

Chocolate

There’s no denying that chocolate is addictive. When you eat chocolate, it increases the endorphin levels released in the brain. It also increases your serotonin levels and that is why it is known for being such a comfort food.

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The problem with most chocolates though, are the fact that they are stripped from their natural raw cacao and mixed in with a ton of milk and added sugars. If you are going to eat chocolate, stick to a limited amount of chocolate that is dark and has a raw cacao percentage of 70% or higher.

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Fruit-flavored yogurt

Natural Greek or Bulgarian yogurt is a very healthy choice if you are diabetic, as it can be used to thicken sauces and and can be a cooling agent to hot and spicy dishes, especially when fresh cucumber and cumin is added!

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However, if you are diabetic, you will need to stay away from fruit-flavored yogurt. These are mixed with some pieces of fresh fruit, and a lot of sugar. They may taste amazing but they will most certainly raise your blood sugar levels. If you want sweetened yogurt, add some natural raw honey into Greek or Bulgarian yogurt. You can even add toasted almond flakes to make it taste even more delicious.

Maple syrup, agave nectar & honey

There’s nothing more delicious than a pile of pancakes covered in maple syrup. Unfortunately, if you are diabetic, you won’t be eating those pancakes because of their high glycemic index. Maple syrup is especially bad for you, as it immediately raises your blood sugar levels.

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Honey and agave nectar are natural sweeteners but unfortunately will only do you harm when consumed in large amounts, if you are diabetic. Just one tablespoon of honey has 17 grams of carbohydrates, agave nectar has 16 grams, and maple syrup contains 13 grams.

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Pineapples

Pineapples are a delicious tropical fruit that provides a lot of fiber and nutrition to the body. They originally came from South America and South Brazil and are enjoyed worldwide.

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The only problem with pineapples is that they need to be eaten in moderation. They contain high carbohydrate and sugar levels that will affect your blood sugar levels negatively. If you drink pure pineapple juice, it must be mixed halfway with (natural mineral) water.

Pretzels

Pretzels are a popular american snack that come in a variation of sizes. You can pick them up at your local 7-Eleven or even on the street in a bigger size. They are simply delicious and certainly make a delicious snack on the go.

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However, pretzels GI (glycemic index) is 80, which is extremely high. They are really not a great choice of snack if you suffer with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Rather go for air popped popcorn if you need a snack, as their glycemic index is only 55.

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Boxed macaroni & cheese

Macaroni and cheese is one of the most indulgent comfort foods on Earth. There really is nothing better than the taste of macaroni mixed with all the different sauces and cheese that comprise a dish of macaroni and cheese.

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If you are diabetic, macaroni and cheese is not a good choice of food as all the pasta will hike up your blood sugar levels. The absolute worst thing you can do is eat macaroni and cheese mixture from a box, as there are so many preservatives and hidden sugars inside that will simply only do your body harm.

Instant oatmeal

Instant oatmeal can be delicious for any time of the day, especially when it comes flavored. Unfortunately it can really do your body harm if you are diabetic.

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Instant oatmeal has a high GI (glycemic index) as it is absorbed into the body at a very fast rate and raises blood sugar levels very quickly. Although it is a favorite among many, especially when eaten in the mornings, it is best left untouched should you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Read more: You need to avoid these foods after you turn 40

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