According to details released by the American Diabetes Association, 30.3 million Americans (or nearly 9.5% of the US population) is currently living with diabetes.
Of those 30.3 million Americans, 23.1 have already been diagnosed with this serious medical condition – but that means that more than 7.2 million Americans are living with diabetes and don’t even realize it.
Worse, diabetes is the seventh-highest leading cause of death in the US. In 2017 alone there were more than 80,000 death certificates that listed diabetes as the underlying cause of death – and more than 252,000 death certificates in the US that listed diabetes as either an underlying or contributing cause of death.
We are dealing with an epidemic here. We need to better understand what foods to avoid with diabetes, what the underlying causes are that make this disease as dangerous and as deadly as it is, and what we can do to fight back against Type II diabetes going forward.
In an effort to better help you win the war against Type II diabetes we’ve put together this quick list of 12 foods to avoid with high blood sugar levels or diabetic symptoms.
Let’s get right to it!
What Foods to Avoid with Diabetes
Don’t get us wrong, there’s nothing quite as fun as digging into a nice big bowl of sugary cereal in the morning – especially on a weekend – to transport you back to your childhood.
Unfortunately, however, these sugar bombs are absolutely horrible when it comes to diabetes and your overall health and well-being in general. These are definitely up there on the list of foods that raise blood sugar levels to dangerous highs and should be cut out of your diet completely if you’re living with Type II diabetes, are prediabetic, or are at all nervous about having to confront this disease in the future.
A lot of people discovering that they are prediabetic or living with diabetes recognize that they have to clean up their daily diet ASAP to fight back against this condition. Many of them feel that eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and veggies is the way to go, too.
And while it’s understandable to take this kind of approach when your doctor tells you that you need to clean up your daily diet the truth of the matter is that there are a lot of fruits for diabetics to avoid unless they want to make their blood sugar issues even worse.
The dehydration process that dried fruit goes through inevitably means that there are going to be concentrated levels of sugar and carbs that are a lot higher than traditional fresh fruit. You’re going to be essentially bombing your body with candy when you eat dried fruit, something all diabetics recognize would be a mistake.
The odds are pretty good that you already recognize soda as one of the worst foods to eat with Type II diabetes, as it is really nothing more than a can of carbonated sugar water with all kinds of other chemical additives that aren’t going to make your life very healthy.
A single 12 ounce can of soda can have as much as 39 g of carbs and a pile of sugar to boot. It’s a good idea to make sure that you eliminate out altogether from your daily diet or indulge in it only very – VERY rarely – once you begin to get your diabetes under control.
The overwhelming majority of fruit drinks sold on the market today, including a lot of products sold as “fruit juice” are really nothing more than artificial concoctions cooked up in a laboratory somewhere and a whole lot less than 100% fruit juice the way they are sometimes advertised.
Do everything in your power to restrict your overall juice intake to 4 ounces a day if you’re living with diabetes or are in a prediabetic condition.
Doughnuts, Muffins and Bagels
A lot of people that discover they have been diagnosed with diabetes are terrified that they aren’t going to be able to sneak some of these favorite breakfast snacks ever again, and it’s easy to understand why.
Doughnuts, muffins, and bagels are almost completely made of carbohydrates and sugar – and many of them are flavored with even more sugar, even more chemical additives, and even more carbohydrates.
The last thing you want to be doing is stuffing your body full of carbs and sugar first thing in the morning when your body hasn’t eaten all night long and is looking for anything to break down and turn into fuel ASAP. Your body will get a sugar shock and a carb bomb if you are snacking on these breakfast foods in the morning.
It’s very rare to find even just a handful of people in your social circle that aren’t crazy over fried foods, that don’t love the taste and smell of these comfort foods, and that are willing to give them up almost completely – even if they’ve been diagnosed with something as serious as Type II diabetes.
As a general rule, however, the odds are pretty good you won’t be able to eat a lot of fried foods when living with Diabetes 2 diet restrictions.
Loaded with carbs, loaded with unhealthy oils, and usually jampacked with more sodium and sugar than you can ever imagine not a bad idea to switch to the healthier alternative of air frying if you don’t want to give up some of your favorite dishes altogether.
Sure, pretzels are considered to be a pretty low-calorie snack but they are made almost entirely out of refined white flour that is loaded with carbohydrates and sugar. You’ll have to give up snacking on pretzels for at least a little while until you’re able to get your diabetes under control on a more consistent basis.
Syrup, Jam, and Jellies
It really does feel like breakfast foods are under attack with this breakdown of the worst foods to eat with Type II diabetes, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately that’s because so many of our favorite breakfast foods are loaded with carbohydrates and sugar, the two things we want to eliminate as much as humanly possible when trying to get a real handle on diabetes.
Syrup is almost completely sugar (certainly more than enough to make your glucose go skyhigh) and jam as well as jellies are little more than fruit juice and more sugar, really helping to push your blood glucose levels through the roof.
As a general rule most people try not to eliminate entire blocks of food and snacks out even when telling people to clean up their diet when diagnosed with diabetes – but there isn’t a single list of foods you don’t want to eat with diabetes that isn’t going to include candies pretty prominently.
Whether you’re talking about fruity snacks like Skittles, chocolate snacks like Hershey’s Kisses, or something else entirely – hard candies, gummy bears, etc. – these delicious little concoctions are nothing more than tiny little sugar bombs that will wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels almost straightaway.
Sugary Coffee Options
Coffee drinks today are very rarely “just coffee” and you’ll want to make sure that your morning cup of Joe isn’t going to really mess with your overall insulin and glucose levels before you take a sip.
Regular old coffee (especially black coffee) is cleared for takeoff on a diabetic diet, but something like a caramel frap, a pumpkin spice latte, and other “fancy” coffee drinks that are loaded with flavor additives and sugar are strictly a no go.
A lot of today’s “granola bars” are billed as a healthy alternative to traditional sugary breakfasts in the hopes that most people aren’t going to actually look at the back of the box and the nutritional information to discover the truth.
In reality, most breakfast bars and granola bars today are loaded with carbohydrates and sugar and absolutely devoid of protein and fiber. They are nowhere near the healthy alternative that they are billed as, and really are just a more attractive looking breakfast option compared to a candy bar (with almost identical impacts on your blood sugar, though).
Believe it or not, there’s a reason why a lot of people ask what vegetables should diabetics avoid right alongside the fruits, candies, and snacks that they should steer clear of – and that’s because some vegetables are loaded with sugar and carbohydrates, too.
These are usually the kinds of vegetables you’ll find sneaking their way into smoothies for little bit of extra flavor and a little bit of extra sweetness. Carrots in particular have a higher sugar content than you might expect, and tomatoes are right up there as a vegetable to avoid as well.
When you get right down to it, making the change to your daily diet to clear up your diabetes without having to pump your body full of prescription medications is always going to take a little bit of extra work.
Sure, there are more healthy diet options available today than ever before that make the transition from a standard diet to a diabetic friendly diet easier. At the same time, though, this is really all going to come down to willpower, focus, and doing the research and due diligence necessary to know whether or not the foods you are fueling your body with our contributing positively or negatively to your diabetic condition.
At the end of the day, research and due diligence is going to be your best friend.
Think about creating diabetic friendly meal plans you can stick to each week, find favorite diabetic friendly dishes you can repeat over and over again, and continue to monitor the impact that some of the non-diabetic friendly foods have on your blood sugar.
That’ll help you know if and when it’s possible to “cheat” and sneak one of these treats so that you don’t have to give them up forever.