People with diabetes are usually aware that their diets need to be carefully monitored. Eating foods that affect the body’s ability to produce or respond to insulin can wreak havoc if they’re consumed by diabetics. Unfortunately, many people who live with the disease aren’t fully educated on the topic.
So, what should I avoid?
The common train of thought is simply to avoid high-carb, sweet, and fatty foods. This is a good benchmark, but even some healthy foods that are otherwise healthy can have adverse effects on the body’s insulin production.
#1. Fruit Juice
Fruit juice is often considered by diabetics to be a healthy way to cater to their sweet tooth. Wrong!
Eating fruit is a far better choice. Fruit tends to contain a variety of antioxidants or other phytonutrients that both regulate the body’s ability to metabolize carbohydrates as well as enhancing insulin sensitivity. The process of juicing fruit also destroys a lot of the fiber content and nutrients which further contributes to blood sugar irregularities.
#2. Breakfast cereal and other refined grains
Refined grains are a dense source of carbohydrates, and we don’t have to explain why diabetics need to avoid these. Despite often being advertised as a healthy start to your day, breakfast cereal typically contains more than one type of sugar, adding significantly to the carb load.
Fortunately, some grains contain nutrients that help your body manage its insulin levels. For example, a bowl of homemade whole oats porridge with flax seeds can be a fairly low-carb alternative to breakfast cereal that’s suitable for diabetics.
#3. Processed lunch meat
Processed lunch meat manages to include itself in the diet plans of a lot of diabetics for a couple of reasons. It’s not high in carbohydrates, which is often enough to convince less-informed diabetics that lunchmeat makes a great choice for their afternoon meal. They may seek out low-fat lunch meat alternatives to create meal plans that they feel won’t be a detriment to their health.
The culprit that lies within many lunch meats is sodium. Even some lunch meats marketed to be 98% fat-free can contain more than half a gram of sodium per serving! Fortunately, most delis offer low-fat, low-sodium alternatives that are fine for diabetics – just ask!
#4. Restaurant fried foods
You may be able to find a restaurant that offers low-carb, low-sodium fried foods, but this doesn’t mean that you should jump at the opportunity to treat your diabetic friend to a fried snack.
Inflammation is implicated in many of the symptoms that a diabetic must endure. On top of this, even lightly fried foods still contain extremely high amounts of oxidized fat. Oxidized fat increases the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol in your body and conversely inhibits your HDL (good) cholesterol, making it harder to cleanse your body of LDL.
#5. White foods
As a general rule of thumb, particularly when buying prepackaged foods, white foods aren’t good for you because they contain refined carbohydrates. White potato chips, white noodles, and white bread are three prime examples of prepackaged foods that are laden with refined carbs.
A lot of these foods are marketed as ‘diet’ editions of foods that are traditionally high in fat or sodium. Diet does not mean good for a diabetic to eat. If you’re looking for diet foods, double check to make sure that they aren’t loaded with refined carbs.
Whole grains are a great alternative to refined carbs. Whole grains offer similar flavour and consistency while containing phytonutrients that can regulate blood sugar.
Special thanks to Nigel Ford for writing this article.
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