As a diabetic, you are supposed to follow certain norms with respect to lifestyle and dietary habits. It’s very important for a person with diabetes to know what food to eat and what to avoid. As the consumption of sugar or fat rich food is best avoided due to the complications associated with them, a diabetic has a considerably lengthy list of foods that he should avoid.
Foods to Avoid If You Have Diabetes
A diabetic should not just avoid sugar, but should also keep a check on other foods – carbohydrate rich foods in particular. Food high in cholesterol is also considered harmful for people suffering from diabetes, and therefore is best avoided. Recent studies have revealed that even some fruits and vegetables are harmful for diabetics. Similarly, fast food and beverages are a strict no. The list of foods is pretty lengthy, but then it is possible to categorize them into different groups based on their content.
Sugar Rich Foods
Sugar rich foods, like white sugar, ice creams, donuts, pastries, chocolates, cookies, artificial sweeteners, etc., can be extremely harmful for people suffering from diabetes. The list of high carbohydrate foods is mainly dominated by foods rich in fructose and glucose, such as table sugar and fruit juice concentrates. As these foods result in increase in the blood sugar levels, it is perfectly logical that they should be avoided by a diabetic. If completely avoiding sugar is not possible, the said dish can be modified a bit to ensure that its sugar content is minimal – but even that should be done only after consulting the doctor.
High Cholesterol Foods
Studies reveal that diabetes lowers the amount of good cholesterol and raises the amount of bad cholesterol in the body. This makes the person, who is already suffering from diabetes, vulnerable to various heart diseases as the bad cholesterol is likely to result in plaque buildup on the artery walls. In such circumstances, high cholesterol foods, such as egg yolk, high-fat dairy products, poultry, red meat, shrimp, cheese, butter, etc., can do more harm than good, and hence are best avoided.
Research at the Tulane School of Public Health, Louisiana, revealed that drinking a single glass of fruit juice daily increases the risk of diabetes considerably. It is better to eat a whole fruit than drink fruit juice, as it provides the body with fiber necessary for healthy body. Moreover, fruit juices are high in carbohydrates, and therefore are best avoided. Once in a while, the person may take fruit juice but that should be in moderation and has to be a part of a well-planned diet.
Fruits and Vegetables
Within fruits, diabetics are advised to avoid certain fruits which are high in glucose and sucrose content or eat them in moderation. While fruits are overall considered healthy, not all fruits are healthy for a person with diabetes. Eating fruits such as mangoes, strawberries and dates can result in a spike in the blood sugar levels, which can be harmful for the individual. Vegetables rich in starch content, like potatoes and squash, should also be kept at bay. While sugar laden fruits can be replaced by high fiber fruits like apples, pear and raspberries, starchy vegetables can be supplemented by vegetables like beet root, carrots, beans, etc.
Due to its tendency to increase blood sugar levels, alcohol in high quantity can pose some serious problems to an individual suffering from diabetes. Consuming alcohol on an empty stomach can lead to hypoglycemia. More importantly, as liver stores the glucose released within the body, any damage to the liver due to excessive alcohol intake, may make it difficult for the person to control glucose levels in the body. Even if you take alcohol in moderation, it should be only done if diabetes in under control.
Fried food, especially that which is fried with hydrogenated oils, tends to raise bad cholesterol in the body. These foods are also laden with unhealthy trans fats. If at all you plan to have some fried food, once in a while, you should use canola or olive oil for frying the food, as these oils are comparatively less harmful for the body. Instead healthy cooking options like baked, boiled or steamed food is ideal for a person with diabetes.
Other food items which should be avoided by a diabetic include, sodium rich foods like soy sauce, refined flour products such as pastas and pizzas, salad dressings like mustard and mayonnaise, etc. As we mentioned earlier, fast food is totally unacceptable for a person suffering from any type of diabetes. At least other foods can be taken in moderation after consulting a doctor, but fast food is absolutely no-no.
How to Avoid Diabetic Foods?
Though harmful, these food items can be very tempting at times, which may make it difficult for you to avoid them. In such situation, knowing the ill-effects of these foods can help you to stay away from them. You should keep a check on the sugar content of the food or drinks you consume. Some foods are labeled sugar free, but they may be high in calorie content; in which case it is in your interest to avoid them. You need not get disheartened by looking at this lengthy list of diabetic foods to avoid, as the list of foods for diabetics to eat is also quite lengthy (and much more healthy).
Last, but the most important thing you need to keep in your mind, is to follow the doctors advice religiously. Never exceed the amount of food that is recommended by your doctor. It is better to follow a healthy lifestyle right from the beginning instead of waiting for some health issue to surface, and then try your best to alter your way of life accordingly. As the age-old adage says – it’s always better to be safe than sorry.