Foods to Avoid with Diabetes
While taking medication will help manage symptoms, there are also foods to avoid eating if you have type 2 diabetes. The top ten foods that should never be eaten by type 2 diabetics are ones that are high on the glycemic index, full of fats that are easily oxidized or foods high in advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs). These are the foods to avoid with diabetes at all costs.
Here’s a quick view of the list:
- Certain protein bars
- Jasmine rice, White Bread and White Pasta
- Tofu ice cream
- Genetically-engineered wheat
- Fried foods
- Artificial trans fat foods
- Vegetable oils (especially hydrogenated oils)
- Boxed cereals
- Hot dogs
Protein Bars, White Rice, Tofu Ice Cream and Genetically Engineered Wheat
The glycemic index is a scale from 0 to 100 that measures the rate at which sugars are released into the bloodstream from carbohydrate foods. A rating low on this scale (between 0 and 55) correlates to a food that is not a problem to diabetics. When these foods that are low on the glycemic index are eaten, blood sugar stays low in diabetics. Examples include cherries, apples, lettuce, celery, beans and chickpeas.
On the other hand, foods that are high on the glycemic index (rated 70 to 100+) are ones that cause an exceptionally high burst of insulin after the blood sugar levels skyrocket. This reaction will eventually wear out the pancreas, and it may even cause the need for insulin at a later date.
Some protein bars are high in sugar and carbohydrates and have a very high glycemic index score. If you want to have protein bars as a snack, consider making healthy versions at home. Jasmine rice and tofu ice cream also have a very high glycemic index score (higher than 100); this can leave you searching for vending machine foods or instant snacks one hour after you eat them. It is also best to avoid other refined carbohydrates such as white bread and pasta, as these are also high on the glycemic index. Instead, opt for whole wheat and whole grain products.
Other types of protein bars, rice and ice cream have moderately high glycemic index scores, but are still safe to eat.
Genetically engineered wheat is also a high glycemic index food. Surprised? Interestingly, the non-genetically engineered wheat called einkorn causes no such reaction to your blood sugar; In fact, it keeps you stable mentally as well as physically.
Fried Foods, Artificial Trans Fat Foods and Vegetable Oils
The problem with many types of fat is that their chemical structures aren’t stable when heated. These unstable fats are called unsaturated, and the more unsaturated bonds these fats have (polyunsaturated fats have the most), the more susceptible they are to oxidization. The problem with this is that artificial trans fats are created by adding hydrogen to unsaturated fats; this is done to make food products more solid and stable (and extending shelf-life). And when these unsaturated fats are "hydrogenated" and consumed, the oxidization ensues.
The damage from these easily oxidized fats occurs via an excess amount of free radicals that then age the body rapidly. Diabetes is already known to increase the aging of the body, and by adding fried foods, trans fat foods and hydrogenated vegetable oils to your diet, you may speed up the aging process even more.
The main types of unsaturated vegetable oils are the standard American "vegetable oil", corn oil, soy oil and any seed oil (canola, pumpkin, walnut, almond, etc.). If you see "hydrogenated oil" in an ingredient list, it is best to avoid this product, as it likely will contain trans fat. If you want to stay healthy, eat a handful of nuts rather than use these oils in cooking.
Use more stable oils such as butter, coconut oil and palm oil. Olive oil is monounsaturated and produces fewer free radicals than polyunsaturated oils.
Boxed Cereals, Pizza and Hot Dogs
What’s wrong with boxed cereals, pizza and hot dogs? They’re a staple of the American diet.
The processing that occurs in the preparation of these foods is the big problem. During the processing, molecular fragments called advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) are produced. These molecules wreak havoc once they get inside your body.
Here’s the real problem with AGEs – they multiply when you heat the foods to high temperatures and once they get inside your body. Therefore, eating these types of foods greatly increases the risk of rapid aging. In fact, every diabetic complication – from peripheral neuropathy to kidney disease necessitating renal dialysis – is connected to AGEs.
Cut out boxed cereals, pizza and hot dogs from your diet now. Don’t wait until you look in the mirror and see signs of aging. By then, it could be too late.
The foods on this list can be easily eliminated, all you need to do is choose a few healthy substitutes. Take a photo of how you look before you start the process and then again at week 10. Or even better, consider the difference in how you feel! You may see a drastic difference by eliminating foods to avoid with diabetes from your diet.