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What Not To Eat With Diabetes


Plan Ahead For Healthy Meals

World Diabetes Day: What to eat and not eat

Planning healthier meals and snacks can go a long way to helping you reach your goals. Talk to your registered dietitian or health-care team about the amount of carbohydrates that are right for you and for help with meal planning. A weekly meal plan will help you shop for the right foods and encourage more cooking at home.

Or Any Deep Fried Foods For That Matter

Frying any type of food ultimately changes its composition, according to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. After having more than 70,000 women fill out a questionnaire about the foods they ate, researchers found that frequently indulging in fried foods was associated with a significantly increased risk of type 2 diabetes and a moderately increased risk of coronary artery disease, especially if those foods were consumed at a restaurant.

This could come down to the amount and type of oil used, generous portion sizes, and the tendency to pair these foods with sugary beveragesall factors that lead to weight gain, the study authors write.

However, even after adjusting their data for the consumption of sugary drinks, the connection between fried food and type 2 diabetes was still apparent. It depends on the method, but frying food literally changes the quality of its nutrients and spikes its calories, all while making it taste irresistibly delicious.


What Are The Best Carbohydrates

Most carbohydrate foods are good for people with diabetes, but those rich in fibre such as wholegrain breads , high fibre breakfast cereals, legumes, fruit and vegetables and those with low glycaemic index are better.

Carbohydrate foods that have a low glycaemic index are more slowly digested and produce a more gradual rise in blood glucose levels, helping to sustain more even blood glucose levels.

  • Fruit apples, apricots, bananas, mango, orange, pears, plums, peaches
  • Vegetables corn, green banana, taro, yams

For further information on Glycaemic Index refer to:

The New Glucose Revolution The Glycaemic Index Solution for Optimum Health by Prof Jennie Brand-Miller, Kaye Foster-Powell, Prof Stephen Colagiuri.

If you use a short acting insulin like Novorapid or Humalog at meals with a long acting insulin, a very low GI meal, such as a bowl of porridge for breakfast, may give you a low blood glucose level soon after your meal.


Checking your blood glucose level before and two hours after a meal will help you to understand the effect foods have on your blood glucose levels. If you do get a low blood glucose level soon after you have finished a meal, it is important to discuss this with your dietitian or health care professional.

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What Foods And Drinks Should I Limit If I Have Diabetes

Foods and drinks to limit include

  • fried foods and other foods high in saturated fat and trans fat
  • foods high in salt, also called sodium
  • sweets, such as baked goods, candy, and ice cream
  • beverages with added sugars, such as juice, regular soda, and regular sports or energy drinks

Drink water instead of sweetened beverages. Consider using a sugar substitute in your coffee or tea.

If you drink alcohol, drink moderatelyno more than one drink a day if youre a woman or two drinks a day if youre a man. If you use insulin or diabetes medicines that increase the amount of insulin your body makes, alcohol can make your blood glucose level drop too low. This is especially true if you havent eaten in a while. Its best to eat some food when you drink alcohol.


Which Type Of Fats Are Recommended

Diabetes Diet: Healthy Foods for Diabetics [Infographic]

Fats have little direct effect on blood sugar but, as part of a meal, they are useful in slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates. Fats also have effects on health that are not related to blood sugar. For example:

  • Animal meat fats increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, dairy, and specifically fermented dairy such as yogurt, appears to decrease this risk.
  • Plant-based fats such as olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocado are associated with lower cardiovascular disease risk.
  • Fat also contributes to feelings of satiety and can play a role in managing overeating and carbohydrate cravings. A portion of healthy fats is much more satisfying and healthy than jam on white toast.

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The Best Type 2 Diabetes Diet

So what does the best type 2 diabetes diet look like? We break foods down into three categories: green light, yellow light, and red light foods.

Green lights you can eat as much as you want, period. Yellow lights are okay, but shouldnt be daily staples. And we recommend removing red light foods from your diet and your pantry.

To learn more about this diet and how to execute it, you can check out our article on the diabetes diet, or talk to our coaches.


Eat More Fruit And Veg

We know eating fruit and veg is good for you. Its always a good thing aim to eat more at meal times and have them as snacks if youre hungry. This can help you get the vitamins, minerals and fibre your body needs every day to help keep you healthy.

You might be wondering about fruit and if you should avoid it because its sugary? The answer is no. Whole fruit is good for everyone and if you have diabetes, its no different. Fruits do contain sugar, but its natural sugar. This is different to the added sugar that are in things like chocolate, biscuits and cakes.

Products like fruit juices also count as added sugar, so go for whole fruit instead. This can be fresh, frozen, dried or tinned . And its best to eat it throughout the day instead of one bigger portion in one go.

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Sweetened Or Unsweetened Fruit Juices

Although 100 percent fruit juice is fine in moderation, and is a source of nutrients like vitamin C, all fruit juices can add a high amount of carbohydrates to your diet and are pure sugar. This combination can wreak havoc on your blood sugar and increase your risk for weight gain.


If you have a fruit juice craving that wont fade, be sure you pick up a juice thats 100 percent pure and contains no added sugars.

Also, limit your portion size to 4 ounces , which will reduce your sugar intake to only 3.6 teaspoons .

You might consider adding a splash or two of your favorite juice to sparkling water instead.

  • increased weight gain
  • high blood sugar levels

Upon further analysis, the study participants who had overweight or obesity, which are risk factors for metabolic syndrome, had likely been swapping no-calorie soda for the full-sugar versions.

They likely took this step to cut their calorie intake. This was an association, but it wasnt considered cause and effect.


A 2016 study seemed to show that those drinking diet sodas had increased blood sugar levels and waist circumference.

However, this study did not control for meals or physical activity or other variables before each round of testing was done.

Further, the authors stated that individuals with higher insulin levels at the beginning of the study may have already had metabolic issues not related to their intake of sugar-free sodas.

For most people living with diabetes, sugar-free sodas are safe in moderation.

What Foods Should I Eat If I Have Diabetes

FAQ: What Should Diabetics Eat? NOT Eat? Beat It with Diet – Diabetes Made Simple!

Eating the right foods for diabetes means eating a variety of healthy foods from all the food groups:


  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains, such as whole wheat, brown rice, barley, quinoa, and oats
  • Proteins, such as lean meats, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, nuts, beans, lentils, and tofu
  • Nonfat or low-fat dairy, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese

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Limit Packaged Snacks And Baked Goods

Aside from all the sugar, junky white flour, sodium, and preservatives they contain, packaged snacks and baked goods like chips, pretzels, crackers, cookies, doughnuts, and snack cakes often have unhealthy trans fats. Trans fats increase your bad cholesterol, lower your good cholesterol, and raise your risk of heart disease. They’re also even more dangerous than saturated fats, especially for people who have type 2 diabetes, who are already at increased risk of heart disease, explains Kimberlain. In fact, theres no amount of trans fats that you can safely include in your diet, especially if you have type 2 diabetes, she notes.

The good news is that trans fats are now listed right below the amount of saturated fats on food labels, making it easier to steer clear of them. Look for labels that list 0 grams trans fat, but keep in mind that according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration , products with less than 0.5 g can claim 0 g, so they may not be trans-fat free. Check the ingredients list as well to make sure the product doesnt contain any partially hydrogenated oils, a major source of trans fats. Seek out healthy fats in salmon and other fatty fish, as well as in nuts, seeds, avocado, and olive and canola oils.

What Is Glycemic Index

The glycemic index is a scale that ranks carbohydrates-containing foodsor drinks from 0 to 100 depending upon how much they raise blood glucose levels after its consumed. Low GI foods are considered better for diabetics due to there slow and steady increase in blood glucose levels. High GI foods increase blood glucose at a higher and faster rate and should be avoided as much as possible for those with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

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Get Support To Eat Well

Get support from your healthcare team, and talk to family and friends about how youre feeling and what they can do to help. If you usually do the cooking at home or someone cooks for you, it can help to read this information together and talk about small swaps and changes you can make in the kitchen.

Foods To Avoid With Diabetes: What Shouldnt You Eat

Diabetes

There are certainly foods that are best to limit, and maybe for some people, avoid altogether. The three main reasons to avoid/limit a food or beverage are that:

They can contribute to diabetes-related complications such as heart and kidney disease.

They can lead to weight gain .

With the caveat that everyone is different in terms of how their glucose levels respond to certain foods, there are definitely some food troublemakers that can wreak havoc and are best to stay away from.


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Can I Eat Watermelon If I Have Diabetes

WatermelondiabetesoatmealdiabetesHere are 15 easy ways to lower blood sugar levels naturally:

  • Exercise Regularly.
  • Drink Water and Stay Hydrated.
  • Implement Portion Control.
  • Choose Foods With a Low Glycemic Index.
  • Control Stress Levels.
  • Monitor Your Blood Sugar Levels.
  • BananasbananadiabeticsbenefitsPopcorn candiabeteswill

    What About Gestational Diabetes

    For people with gestational diabetes, it can help to develop a meal plan with a healthcare professional.

    This may involve carefully accounting for carbohydrates to make sure that the person has enough energy but keeps their blood sugar levels under control.


    The National Institutes of Health recommend that people with gestational diabetes eat three medium-sized meals per day and two to four snacks in between.

    People with gestational diabetes benefit from a balanced diet of fiber, vegetables, fruit, protein, healthy fats, and legumes, including the foods listed above.

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    Why Does Carb Intake Matter For People With Diabetes

    Carbs, protein, and fat are the macronutrients that provide your body with energy.

    Among them, carbs have the greatest effect on your blood sugar by far. This is because theyre broken down into sugar, or glucose, and absorbed into your bloodstream.


    Carbs include starches, sugar, and fiber. However, fiber isnt digested and instead absorbed by your body in the same way other carbs are, so it doesnt raise your blood sugar.

    Subtracting fiber from the total carbs in a portion of food will give you its digestible or net carb content. For instance, if a cup of mixed vegetables contains 10 grams of carbs and 4 grams of fiber, its net carb count is 6 grams.

    When people with diabetes consume too many carbs at a time, their blood sugar levels can rise to dangerously high levels.

    Over time, high levels can damage your bodys nerves and blood vessels, which may set the stage for heart disease, kidney disease, and other serious health conditions.

    Maintaining a low carb intake can help prevent blood sugar spikes and greatly reduce the risk of diabetes complications.


    Therefore, its important to avoid the foods and drinks listed below.

    Sugary beverages are the worst drink choice for someone with diabetes.

    First, theyre very high in carbs, with a 12-ounce can of cola providing 38.5 grams .

    The same amount of sweetened iced tea and lemonade each contain almost 45 grams of carbs exclusively from sugar .

    Artificial trans fats are extremely unhealthy.

    How Many Carbs Should You Have Per Day In A Diabetes Diet Plan

    What Can Diabetics Eat? – Food to Avoid with Diabetes

    Carbohydrates are probably the most talked about nutrient when it comes to diabetes, since both certain carbs and large amounts of any carbs can easily take your blood sugar beyond the target range.

    “When living with diabetes, a person’s carbohydrate needs vary depending on a lot of factors, such as age and activity level,” recommends Beaver. “The best thing to do is to work with a registered dietitian to figure out how many carbs per meal are best for you.”

    That said, here are general carbohydrate recommendations for optimal blood sugar control:

    • Women: About 45 grams of carbs per meal
    • Men: About 60 grams of carbs per meal
    • 15-20 grams of carbs at a snack

    “It’s best to spread your carb intake evenly throughout the day, rather than having most of your allotted carbs at one meal since this can lead to a big blood sugar spike that is tough to get back down,” says Beaver.

    It’s also important to know that not all carbs are created equal.

    “The simple carbs in a pop tart, for example, are absorbed quickly, causing a spike in your blood sugar,” explains Beaver. “The complex carbs in other foods beans, for instance are absorbed more slowly, allowing blood sugar to rise more gently and making us feel fuller for longer.”

    The simple carbs to limit include highly processed foods and snacks, such as:

    • Chips

    The less processed carbs that are better options include:

    • Fresh fruit
    • Beans and lentils
    • Whole grains, such as whole wheat breads and pastas, oatmeal, quinoa and brown rice

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    What Else Do I Need To Know About Diabetic Diets

    If you have diabetes, it’s important to eat the right amount of food every day. Your eating plan will include how much to eat, so that you get the right amount of carbs in each meal or snack. You’ll learn how to count carbs and measure your food.

    Eating at the right times is also important. You will want to plan for regular, balanced meals to avoid high or low blood sugar levels. Eating about the same amount of carbs at each meal can be helpful.

    Your eating plan will also teach you how to stick with your plan at home and when you eat out.

    Eating healthy to control your blood sugar does take some effort. But the reward is a chance to live your healthiest life with diabetes.

    NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

    Which Foods Should Be Avoided In A Type 2 Diabetes Meal Plan

    People with type 2 diabetes should avoid many of the same unhealthy foods everyone should limit. Dietary restrictions include:

    • Sodas: both sugar sweetened regular soda and diet soda raise blood sugar
    • Refined sugars
    • Processed carbs
    • Trans fats such as butter “spreads,” some mayonnaise “spreads” some salad dressings, packaged sauces, bakery goods
    • High-fat animal products
    • High-fat dairy products
    • High fructose corn syrup
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Highly processed foods novelty sweets, candies, chips, kettle corn, cookies)

    The best way to avoid these foods is to shop around the edges of the grocery store and minimize the number of processed, packaged foods in the middle. Sticking with “real” food in its whole, minimally processed form is the best way to eat well for diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes who eat a healthy diet pattern like the ones discussed here reduce the risk of complications that stem from high blood sugar, like cardiovascular disease and obesity.

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    More On Food Labelling

    No added sugar means that no extra sugar has been added to the product but it may still contain a lot of natural sugars.

    Reduced Fat / Light or Lite means the product still contains some fat. Look at the nutrition information panel to see how much fat is in the portion you are going to eat.

    In many fat-reduced products the fat is replaced by extra sugar. Check the label. Sugar also has other names, e.g. glucose syrup, maltose etc.

    Your Weight Is Important

    What food can I eat if I have diabetes?

    Losing weight will make it easier for your body to lower your blood sugar level, and can improve your blood pressure and cholesterol.

    To know whether you’re overweight, work out your body mass index .

    If you need to lose weight, it is recommended for most people to do it slowly over time. Aim for around 0.5 to 1kg a week.

    The charity Diabetes UK has more information on healthy weight and weight loss.

    There is evidence that eating a low-calorie diet on a short-term basis can help with symptoms of type 2 diabetes. And some people have found that their symptoms go into remission.

    A low-calorie diet is not safe or suitable for everyone with type 2 diabetes, such as people who need to take insulin. So it is important to get medical advice before going on this type of diet.

    Page last reviewed: 18 August 2020 Next review due: 18 August 2023

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