One way to manage type 2 diabetes is through consuming a balanced and healthy diet. Although having diabetes does not mean that a person has to stop eating all the foods that they once enjoyed but they may need to eat some of them in smaller portions. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020 recommends that most adults consume 130 grams (g) of carbohydrate each day. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), type 2 diabetes food list should include:
- Include fruits and vegetables.
- Eat lean protein.
- Choose foods with less added sugar.
- Avoid trans fats.
When people with diabetes consume too many carbs, their blood sugar levels can spike up to high levels, causing damage to your body’s nerves and blood vessels. Maintaining a low carb intake can help prevent increase in blood sugar levels and greatly reduce the risk of diabetes complications. Therefore, it’s important to avoid the foods listed below, as these can be the worst foods for diabetes:
High-GI (Glycemic Index) foods increase blood sugar, so when choosing high-GI foods, it is advisable to limit their portions and pair them with protein or healthy fat to reduce the impact on blood sugar. Fruits like melons and pineapple are high-GI which are considered the worst fruits for diabetics and should be avoided.
Saturated and trans fats
Unhealthy fats, such as saturated and trans fats, can increase the risk of heart disease in a person with diabetes. Many fried and processed foods, like fries, chips, and baked goods, contain these types of fats which increase diabetes type 2 symptoms and should be avoided.
People with diabetes should limit or avoid refined sugar present in sweets, cakes, and biscuits. The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 24 grams or 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day for women, and 36 grams or 9 teaspoons for men.
Drinks that contain added sugar such as energy drinks, sodas, coffees, and shakes, can imbalance a person’s insulin levels and increase diabetes 2 symptoms.
Foods that are high in salt can raise blood pressure. Avoid processed foods, such as canned and pickled vegetables, which contain added sodium. As per ADA, people should keep their daily sodium intake under 2,300 milligrams per day.
Drinking alcohol in moderation should not have serious risks for people with diabetes and should not affect long-term glucose control. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.
Your main goal must be to stay away from unhealthy fats, liquid sugars, processed grains, and other foods that cause your blood sugar levels to spike. Knowing which foods increase your blood sugar levels and drive insulin resistance and avoiding them in your diet can help keep you healthy and reduce your risk of future diabetes complications.