Nutrition

Foods and Drinks to Avoid with Diabetes

Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

Foods and Drinks to Avoid with Diabetes

A diabetes diagnosis is never easy. People who are not actively dealing with it would not be able to accurately understand the daily challenges faced by individuals who are living with this disorder. It may seem like any other condition to a third person, however, every single day a person with diabetes discovers something new about their condition. Most often than not, their discovery is not a good one. If you are someone who has been diagnosed with T1D or T2D, go back in time and think about when you first got a confirmation. Even to you, it may not have seemed like something huge back then. Because it has become so common in India, there’s not much we attribute to diabetes. However, slowly, as you live with it, you understand the nuanced layers that you never knew about. 

  • The daily injections – thrice for most people
  • The 24/7 insertion of the pump site on the abdomen or thigh
  • Having to smell like insulin
  • Dealing with highs and lows
  • Constantly carrying additional supplies like – glucometer, sugar pills, etc
  • and of course, having a list of certain foods to avoid with diabetes. 

There is a lot more apart from these challenges that a person with diabetes has to deal with. One of the major setbacks would be the restrictions on the diet. For people who have gotten a taste of the yumminess of cakes, brownies, ice creams, bread, French fries, noodles, etc. it is even tougher to stop themselves from indulging in the temptation once in a while. The massive amount of self-control that each person with diabetes has to exhibit is commendable in itself. 

Foods and Drinks to Avoid with Diabetes 

We often associate diabetes with sugar levels. But what exactly causes the sugar levels to rise and fall? Yes, it is the production (or lack of) of insulin. When the islet cells of the pancreas do not produce enough insulin, it causes the blood sugar levels in the bloodstream to rise. The main job of insulin is to bind to the glucose molecules present in the bloodstream – thus keeping them in check. But how does glucose enter the bloodstream? The primary source would be the food that you eat. High carb and sugary foods create an instant spike in the glucose in the body. This is why these are at the top of the list of food to avoid with diabetes India. 

Whether the diagnosis is T1D or T2D, you would have to ensure to limit the intake of unhealthy food and drinks that might leave you dealing with complications that could have easily been avoided. You might wonder why so much emphasis is given to foods to avoid diabetes, this is the reason. 

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Why does carb intake matter for people with diabetes?

One of the most vital things in diabetes management is the proper intake of food. No matter what you do, how much you workout, how many units of insulin you take, if you are indulging in foods that you aren’t supposed to eat, you may end up causing more damage to yourself in the long term. 

Talking about T2D in particular, since it is a lifestyle disease that sees its onset due to unhealthy eating patterns or an overall unhealthy lifestyle, this aspect becomes a priority even more. Type 2 diabetes foods to avoid, therefore, require strict management. 

Carb intake and regular carb counting are important for any diabetes diagnosis because they can help you decide and inject the appropriate amount of insulin. To be able to manage your blood sugar levels effectively, restricting your carb intake would take precedence over everything else. 

It also helps in the prevention of other complications such as:

  • Kidney diseases
  • Stress on the heart
  • Stroke, diabetic retinopathy, etc. Overall, since carbs are not absorbed fast into the bloodstream, they can spike sugar levels. Sticking to a low-carb diet is best. However, carb intake does not use a ‘one size fits all’ approach This is something you will have to understand with your endocrinologist and dietician. 

Sugar-sweetened beverages

One of the worst and most dangerous categories of food for people with diabetes would be sugary and sweetened drinks. Any liquid with high levels of sugar does not take much longer to enter the bloodstream and immediately and sharply raises the blood sugar levels. In fact, these are often advised to be consumed in case of severe hypoglycemia owing to how fast they act in increasing glucose levels. Iced tea, lemonade, and even fruit juices are unhealthy for consumption. Not only do they increase the mg/dL levels but also result in other issues like fatty liver disease, high cholesterol, etc. Since there is no nutrition and only carbs, they also lead to an increase in weight which can cause insulin resistance

Trans fats

Another extremely unhealthy group of foods to avoid with diabetes is trans fats. Anything that comes under baked goods, maida, biscuits, high-fat food, etc could be considered high in trans fats. Even if this category may not directly and immediately increase the sugar levels in the blood, it may lead to the development of belly fat which may deteriorate the effects of the insulin taken externally. An increase in cholesterol is also common with the constant consumption of trans fats. Keep a lookout for these levels on the packaging of the food before consumption.

White bread, rice, and pasta

Yes, diabetes is associated with ‘sugar’ but it is a lot more than that. Among the foods to avoid diabetes in India, starchy and high-carb foods are a must. White bread is almost all maida. This refined wheat flour significantly increases the sugar levels in both, T1D and T2D. Rice has a lot of starch, which is also, essentially, high in carb content. Pasta made from maida often tastes the best but is the unhealthiest. All of these food categories are tough to break down in the body. This means that even if you take external insulin, it may not work the way you expect it to.

Fruit-flavored yogurt

Plain and unsweetened yogurt may not be a bad idea and can also be healthy. However, any yogurt that is sweetened artificially and flavored has large amounts of carbs and sugar. Frozen yogurt and ice creams are also not ideal for consumption. Even if you choose low-fat options, they may not necessarily mean low-carb. Check the labels or read about it thoroughly. 

Sweetened breakfast cereals

Children and even adults have breakfast cereals like chocos, ‘froot loops’, etc. Consider these under the type 2 diabetes foods to avoid list. Not only are they dangerous in increasing sugar levels but they have almost zero nutritional quality. If your morning sugars are high, it is very likely to affect your all-day glucose levels resulting in a high Hba1c. Corn flakes with milk and honey may also not be ideal. 

Flavored coffee drinks

Not all coffee is bad, don’t worry! You do not have to stop your consumption of this drink that keeps most of the world going. However, you will have to make sure that you are not using any of the coffee packets and sachets that are artificially flavored and sweetened. Any coffee that has caramel, hazelnut, etc would only spike your sugars. If you are a frequent Starbucks or a regular at your local cafes, make sure you are not indulging in drinks that are too sweet for good. 

Bottomline

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes and are looking at guidelines for a healthy diet, this article should be a good starting point. In the beginning, it would be essential to avoid foods like – sugary drinks, trans fats, maida and bread, cakes and cookies, flavored yogurt and coffee, sweetened breakfast cereals, etc. Till you can understand your patterns, exercising caution and restriction would be best. Read more to know what are the food and drinks to avoid. Also read about is sweet potato good for diabetes.

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