8 Foods to Avoid When You are a Diabetic

Health and Nutrition
23.10.2019

Diabetes mellitus is a serious metabolic disease which is affecting people all over the world and its prevalence is increasing. According to World health organisation diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the year 2016, about 1.6 million deaths were directly due to diabetes (1). 

Dietary guidelines for diabetic people

Type 1 diabetes (T1D)

Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. It is an autoimmune disease in which the body destroys its own insulin producing cells. People with T1D need daily injections of insulin to survive (2, 3).

  • The American Diabetic Association, recommended that the individuals food intake is used as a basis for integrating insulin therapy into the eating and exercise patterns. 

 

  • Reduce saturated fat to 10 % of total energy or less. People with diabetes have an increased risk of coronary heart disease and this dietary modification may reduce the risk of heart problems.

 

  • Salt intake should be kept low as diabetic people have an increased risk of hypertension. 
  • Very moderate intake of alcohol.

Type 2 diabetes (T2D)

The majority of all diabetes is T2D (85%-95%), which in many cases can be prevented. People with T2D cannot use the insulin they produce properly, but can mostly manage their condition through exercise and diet, although many may require medication, including insulin, to control blood glucose levels (2, 3).

  • Try and stick to ideal weight by consuming the recommended number of calories and also follow regular exercise routine recommended. 

 

  • Reduce saturated fat to 10 % of total energy or less.

 

  • Consuming low glycaemic index foods is of utmost importance. Take expert help to plan diet.

 

  • Keep salt intake low to keep blood pressure in control.

 

  • Avoid excess alcohol.

 

What Is Glycemic Index?

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a numerical scale used to indicate how fast and how high a particular food can raise our blood glucose level. A food with a low GI will generally result in a quick moderate rise in blood glucose, while a food with a high GI may cause our blood glucose level to increase above the optimal level (2, 3).

Glycemic index is a measure of a food’s ability to raise the level of blood glucose.

Glycemic load is glycemic index adjusted for a standard serving size.

 

8 Foods to be avoided by people with diabetes

 

  1. Sugar

 

Avoid sugar or sucrose because it is not a low GI food, the GI of sucrose is 60. Low GI foods means GI is less than 55. There will be a sudden spike in blood sugar levels after consuming sugar and then a sudden drop which makes the diabetic person crave for more simple sugar.  

 

  1. White bread and white rice

 

The GI of white bread is 71 and white rice is 89. It is better to cut down on these and add more complex carbohydrate to the diet. Higher intake of white rice is linked to significantly higher risk of T2D in people of Asian origin (4).

 

  1. Fruit juices

 

There are studies which say that sweetened fruits juices may increase incidence of type 2 diabetes (5).  If at all you want to have fruit juice then look for 100 % fruit juice as these are not linked to increased incidence of T2D (6). Why not just eat a whole fruit which is a healthier option!  (7)

 

  1. Foods containing high amounts of trans fats

 

Trans fatty acids do not exhibit the cholesterol lowering properties of the naturally occurring cis form of polyunsaturated fats. Trans fatty acids impact lipid profile in blood in a negative manner, similar to that of saturated fatty acids (2).

Since the risk of heart problems increases with diabetes it is better to avoid foods that contain trans fats. Trans fats may be present in milk, meat and butter. They are also found in foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils such as shortening, margarine and bakery foods.

 

  1. Potatoes

 

Potatoes are good sources of carbohydrate and foods made out of potatoes increase blood glucose levels. It is good for diabetics if potatoes are avoided or restricted. Higher consumption of potatoes, especially French fries was linked to higher incidence of T2D (8).

 

  1. Fizzy drinks

 

Fizzy drinks have high sugar content. Because of the sugar content the GI of these fizzy or soft drinks is high. It is better for diabetic people to avoid any beverages with high sugar content.

 

  1. Salted snacks and other foods with high salt content

 

Generally, snacks such as potato chips have high content of salt. Processed foods may contain more salt. Excess salt intake is linked to hypertension and hypertension is one of the main reasons for cardiovascular diseases. And diabetic people are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. It is important to keep blood pressure under control for diabetic people. 

 

Avoid foods that have high salt content. Read food labels carefully for salt content.

 

  1. Desserts

 

Presence of high content of sugar in desserts make them unsuitable for diabetic people. Desserts include ice creams, sweetened yogurts, milk sweets, chocolates and other high sugar containing sweets.

 

Final word

 

Plan your diet carefully if you are a diabetic, take help of an expert. With a healthy diet and following a physically active life blood sugar levels can be kept in check.

 

References 

 

  1. World Health Organisation (2019). Diabetes

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/diabetes

 

  1. Wildman, R. (2009) The Nutritionist-Food, Nutrition and Optimal Health. Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group. Second Edition. New York and London.

 

  1. Truswell, A. S. (2003) ABC of Nutrition. BMJ Publishing Group, BMA House Tavistock Square. Fourth Edition. London WC1H 9JR

 

  1. Hu, E. A., Pan, A., Malik, V. and Sun, Q. (2012) White rice consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: meta-analysis and systematic review, BMJ (Clinical research ed.). Vol. 344 (1454). 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3307808/

 

  1. Xi, B., Li, S., Liu, Z., Tian, H., Yin, X., Huai, P., Tang, W., Zhou, D.  and Steffen, L. M. (2014) Intake of Fruit Juice and Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PLoS ONE. Vol. 9 (3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0093471https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0093471

 

  1. Murphy, M. M., Barrett, E. C., Bresnahan, K. A. and Barraj, L. M. (2017) 100 % Fruit juice and measures of glucose control and insulin sensitivity: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials, Journal of nutritional science. Vol. 6 (59). 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5736636/

 

  1. Muraki, I., Imamura, F., Manson J. E, Hu F.B., Willett, W. C., van Dam, R.M. and Qi, S. (2013) Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective longitudinal cohort studies, BMJ. Vol. 347.

https://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f5001

 

  1. Muraki, I., Rimm, E. B., Willett, W. C., Manson, J. E., Hu, F. B. and Sun, Q. (2016) Potato Consumption and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Results from Three Prospective Cohort Studies, Diabetes care. Vol. 39 (3). 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4764041/

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