5 Popular Snacks Diabetics Should Avoid

snacks diabetics should avoid

It ought to be as easy as walking over to the nearest vending machine and dropping in a quarter – or these days, a stack of quarters. But it turns out there are bumps in the road, snacks diabetics should avoid.

So what are we looking for? The usual suspects first. Sugar and starch.

But for some snacks, it’s what’s missing. Some don’t have protein. Some don’t have fiber. And some have no recognizable nutrient value whatsoever. (We’re talking to you, marshmallow fluff!)

So we’ll recommend snacks diabetics should avoid that demonstrate some of these problems.

1 Doughnuts (high sugar)

This is a no brainer. Diabetes is a problem of blood sugar dysregulation. Sugar becomes blood sugar. Not good.

2. Pretzels (high starch)

So innocent looking. But it’s 84% starch (not to mention the salt). It’s the snack we were told to choose, once upon a time, because it’s so low in fat. OK, it’s not on the same level as chocolate turtles. But diabetics especially need to be aware of the possible effect of starch on blood sugar.

3. Potato Chips, Sour Cream and Onion (low protein)

Another typical starchy snack, but only 4% protein. Not everything needs to be high in protein. But protein in a snack can slow absorption of the sugars and starches into your system. This blunts the impact on your blood sugar. And it helps you feel fuller longer.

4. Ice Cream (low fiber)

Aside from the sugar, food like this has no fiber. Fiber not only takes up space usually occupied by calories (again, fuller longer), but it actually reduces caloric intake. And like protein, it tends to lessen the blood sugar spike.

5. Overprocessed Pseudofood (low nutrition)

More of a category than an example, these snacks come in little packages barely big enough to hold the massive list of ingredients. You’ll know them when you see (and avoid) them.


Snacks are opportunities to nourish ourselves. We can take that opportunity by avoiding the snacks diabetics should avoid.