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  • Writer's pictureDr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam

What Foods to Avoid with Diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition that affects how your body uses glucose, or sugar, as a source of energy. When you have diabetes, your blood glucose levels can become too high or too low, which can cause various health problems. To manage your diabetes, you need to follow a healthy diet that helps keep your blood glucose levels in the target range recommended by your doctor.

Some foods and drinks can raise your blood glucose levels and increase your risk of diabetes complications. Therefore, it is important to limit or avoid these foods and drinks as much as possible.

Here are some examples of foods and drinks that you should avoid with diabetes:

  • Foods with added sugars: Added sugars are sugars that are not naturally present in foods, but are added during processing or preparation. Examples of added sugars are table sugar (sucrose), honey, molasses, and corn syrup. They are often found in baked goods such as cakes, cookies, and pies, as well as sugar-sweetened beverages such as regular soda and fruit-flavored drinks. Consuming added sugars in large amounts can increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. For those living with prediabetes or diabetes, limiting added sugars can help keep blood glucose levels in the target range. You should limit your added sugar consumption to no more than 25 grams (g) or 6 teaspoons per day for women and 36 g or 9 teaspoons per day for men. This amount does not include naturally occurring sugars found in plain milk, fruits, and some vegetables.

  • Foods and drinks with refined carbohydrates. Refined carbohydrates are carbohydrates that have been processed to remove the bran and germ parts of the grain, which contain fiber and other nutrients. These carbohydrates can also raise your blood glucose levels quickly and have a high glycemic index (GI), which measures how much a food affects your blood glucose levels. You should avoid white rice, chapathi and prefer brown rice instead.

  • Drinks with added sugars: Sugary beverages such as cola, other sodas, fruit punch, lemonade (and other “-ades”), and some mixed drinks are not ideal for people with prediabetes or diabetes. These beverages provide empty calories and offer no nutrients. They also do not provide the same degree of fullness as eating solid foods with the same number of calories. Moreover, these sugar-sweetened drinks can increase your visceral fat, which is the fat that surrounds your organs in the midsection. Some research has found that visceral fat may lead to metabolic changes such as insulin resistance, increased levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and a greater risk of fatty liver disease. Limiting added sugar consumption may help reduce glucose levels, blood fat levels, and the risk of fatty liver disease.

  • Fried and processed foods: Many fried and processed foods, including fries, chips, and baked goods, contain trans fats. Trans fats are a type of unsaturated fat that can raise your LDL cholesterol and lower your HDL cholesterol levels. High LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol levels can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. People with diabetes should limit or avoid sources of trans fats. You can check the nutrition facts label on packaged foods to see if they contain trans fats. You can also look for the words “partially hydrogenated oils” in the ingredients list, which indicate the presence of trans fats. Additionally, fried and processed foods tend to be high in sodium, or salt. Excess sodium intake can raise your blood pressure and increase your risk of kidney disease. People with diabetes should aim for less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day.

  • Red meat and processed meat: Red meat consumption can increase the risk of diabetes, according to a large study. In particular, steer clear of processed red meats like hot dogs, bacon and deli meats. These meats are often high in sodium, nitrates, nitrites, and other preservatives that can harm your health. Swap these unhealthier proteins for white-meat poultry, fish, nuts, beans and dairy.

  • Poultry with the skin on: Poultry is a good source of lean protein for people with diabetes. However, poultry with the skin on can add extra fat and calories to your diet. The skin also contains more saturated fat than the meat itself. Saturated fat is another type of fat that can raise your LDL cholesterol levels and increase your risk of heart disease. People with diabetes should limit their intake of saturated fat to less than 10% of their total daily calories. To reduce saturated fat intake from poultry, remove the skin before cooking or eating it.

These are some examples of foods and drinks to avoid with diabetes. However, this is not a complete list. You may need to limit or avoid other foods and drinks depending on your individual needs and preferences.

Dr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam, MD, FRCP (London), FACP (USA)

Internal Medicine Specialist

Kify Hospital



Phone : 85000 23456

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