10 foods diabetics should avoid
Most diabetics know to avoid sugar. It only makes sense: if your blood sugar is too high, you shouldn’t complicate the situation by ingesting more of the same.
But the sugar in your diet is not the only food that will increase your blood glucose level. Carbohydrates and alcohol raise your blood sugar (blood glucose level) almost as fast as eating sugar straight from the bowl. Protein and fat also turn into energy for the body, but they don’t raise blood sugar that much or that fast.
Of course, blood sugar is not exactly the same as sugar in food. The human body uses glucose as a source of energy. Table sugar is sucrose, fruit sugar is fructose, and milk sugar is lactose. There are other sugars too, but basically these sugars are converted to glucose in the human body.
Not everyone likes sweets, but I certainly do. It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that diabetics should avoid eating anything made with sugar or high fructose corn syrup, including: candy, cakes, cookies, ice cream, donuts, marshmallow cream, peanuts Circus, Soda, Kool-aid, Sports Drinks, Sweet Tea or Fruit Drinks, Hot Chocolate, Sweet Corn, Sweet Corn, Jello, Pudding, Popsicles, Sorbet, Syrup, Whipped Cream, Cake, Cracker Barrel Chocolate Cake, custard, jelly, Nutella, smoothies, Captain Crunch, etc. If I missed your favorite, add it to the list.
The following 10 foods should also be avoided.
1. White bread. Processed flour turns into glucose almost as fast as sugar. In fact, white bread ranks the same as glucose on the glycemic index. The glycemic index is a ranking based on how quickly a particular food raises blood glucose levels. High is bad, low is good. Both glucose and white bread have a rating of 100. Stone ground whole wheat bread and rye bread have a much lower glycemic index.
2. White bagels. They look a lot like white bread, don’t they? The delicious bagels also have many more calories than regular bread. Two slices of bread is about 150 calories, while a good-size bagel is twice as high. It’s not that you can’t eat bagels, but get a variety of whole grains and remember that eating a large bagel is like eating 4 slices of toast.
3. Crackers. If you were the baker, you would notice that white bread, white bagels, and crackers start with white flour. The same goes for standard pretzels. Whole grain crackers and pretzels are best for diabetics and non-diabetics alike.
4. White potatoes. Interestingly, sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index and raise blood sugar less than white potatoes.
5. White rice. Are you noticing a pattern here? Some diabetic patients choose to avoid anything white.
6. Most breakfast cereals. Unless it’s made with whole grains, your breakfast cereal will also be processed like sugar. Even quick oatmeal raises blood sugar. Stone cut oats are so much better for you and are now available in standard grocery stores, right next to “regular” oats. However, the variety of stone much longer to cook, easily half an hour or more to soften the grain to the consistency of normal oatmeal.
7. Instant pasta or macaroni mixes. Almost everything “instant” or processed breaks down into sugar more quickly than natural forms.
8. Popcorn. Yes, another white article; however, quantity is the key. A cup of popcorn (without butter) will not raise your blood sugar much, while eating large popcorn is like eating a few bars of chocolate.
9. Sweet fruit. Especially sweet fruits like watermelon and pineapple contain more fruit sugar than less sweet fruits, but again, quantity is key. A few cocks won’t hurt you.
10. Alcohol. Not only does it raise your blood sugar level, it can also alter your judgment regarding your diabetes. It is better to avoid this altogether.
Copyright 2010 Cynthia J. Koelker, MD