If you’re already following a healthy and nutritious diet plan, congratulations! You’re on your way to leading a fitter and longer life. But if you have any health problems, such as diabetes, you must watch out for what you eat because diet plays an important role in managing your sugar levels. In this article, we tell you how to manage this condition, must-have diabetic food list and what foods to avoid with diabetes.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is an acute metabolic disorder in which the body is unable to convert sugars, starches and other foods into usable energy. Most of the foods you eat are normally converted into glucose during the digestion process. The bloodstream then transports this glucose throughout the body.
The hormone, insulin, then converts glucose into active energy or is stored for future use. Studies have shown that one third of the people born in 2010 will develop diabetes at some point in their lives. What is particularly horrifying is that many who develop diabetes will be kids.
Diabetes used to affect the middle-aged, but now with childhood obesity on the rise, more and more children are getting diabetic. But living with diabetes does not mean eating less or depriving yourself – it simply means eating healthy and with caution.
How to manage diabetes?
The first step towards management of diabetes is to know what foods to avoid with diabetes. Health Total experts recommend diabetics to consume more of low glycemic index (GI) foods. GI means how fast and by how much a certain food will raise your blood sugar.
Glucose has a GI score of 100 that is used as a reference food to compare the GI score of all the other carbohydrate containing foods. Consuming low GI foods is important as they are digested and absorbed slowly, leading to a gradual rise in blood sugar levels, thus regulating your hunger pangs.
Diabetic food list
Below is a diabetic food list from our experts. Including most of these foods in your daily diet will help in controlling blood sugar levels.
Vegetables high in fibre: Fibre helps you feel satiated for long and regulates blood sugar levels. It also helps in lowering BP and cholesterol levels. Some of the best sources of fibre are beans, spinach, broccoli and green leafy vegetables.
Nuts: They digest slowly, are rich in fibre, protein and good fats, so they help control sugar. They are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Flaxseed: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein and fibre, along with being a good source of magnesium, flaxseed is one of the most beneficial diabetic food.
Fenugreek seeds: Commonly known as methi seeds, these seeds are packed with fibre and phytochemicals that slow down the absorption of carbohydrates by the body. Just soak 1 tablespoon methi seeds overnight and drink this water along with the seeds. It will help control diabetes.
Bitter gourd: Popularly known as karela, it comes with active anti-diabetic compounds that help in managing the condition effectively. One of its active compounds, charantin, controls sugar levels in the body.
Ragi: It contains high concentration of dietary fibre that keeps you full for a long time and prevents overeating. Ragi is rich in minerals and a great diabetic food.
Oatmeal: It is full of soluble fibre, so it leads to slow absorption of glucose in the stomach, consequently controlling blood sugar levels.
Whole grain bread: Switching to whole grain bread instead of white bread is better for insulin sensitivity, since whole grain will digest slowly, leading to slow release of glucose in the blood stream.
Barley: Replacing white rice with barley has shown to reduce blood sugar rise by almost 70%. Boiled barley looks like rice and has a very low GI. Diabetic food list must have barley as top 5 foods.
Pulses: Most whole and split dals such as whole moong, whole masoor, rajma, chole and matki have a low GI and are rich in fibre and protein making it to the diabetic food list.
What foods to avoid with diabetes
The more white rice you eat, the greater is your risk of getting type 2 diabetes. White rice and pasta can cause blood sugar spikes similar to that of sugar. Opt for brown rice. It does not cause the same blood sugar spikes thanks to fibre, which slows the rush of glucose into the bloodstream.
Sucrose, present in table sugar, provides no nutrition instead increases calories and carbohydrates intake. Try substituting this kind of sugar with natural sugar, like honey, jaggery (gur), molasses etc.
Whole milk & its products
Try replacing high-fat milk or its products with low-fat milk and its products like low-fat yogurt (curd) or low-fat cottage cheese.
Tea and coffee
Avoid having more than two cups of the regular tea or decaffeinated coffee every day. Blended coffees are especially laced with syrup, sugar, whipped cream and other toppings that are loaded with calories and fats. Switch over to herbal teas.
Refined flour & its products
Replace these with whole grains, whole wheat or soy bread and unpolished rice, whole wheat pasta.
High-calorie, high fat, high-sodium and high-carb, Chinese cuisine can increase blood sugar drastically and keep it high for a while. So, if you love Chinese food, prepare a modified recipe at home using steamed vegetables and low-sodium, low-fat condiments and flavourings. The best would be to not include in your diabetic food list.
Fruit smoothies & juices
This might sound like a healthy refreshment, but can be a sugary disaster if you have diabetes. A large glass of smoothie contains as much as 500 calories and 92 grams of carbohydrates. Instead, make your smoothie at home so you can control what goes in it. You can add vegetables like spinach and kale and use low-sugar fruits like green apples and berries. Similarly, drinking a glass of orange juice with your breakfast is equal to sipping a can of soda.
French fries, fried chicken/fish and potato chips soak up tons of oil during their preparation. This leads to piling of extra calories if eaten frequently. At 25 grams of fat, 500 calories, and over 63 grams of carbohydrates, a large serving of french fries can spike your blood sugar levels. Also, it can lead to weight gain.
What Foods to Avoid in Type 2 Diabetes
Those with type 2 diabetes should avoid refined grains as they affect blood glucose more quickly than whole grains. Here’s a list of grains and products made from refined flours to avoid or limit their intake:
- White rice, pasta and flour
- White bread, bagels and white flour tortillas
- Cereals not made from whole grains
Besides the above-mentioned foods, type 2 diabetes persons must avoid.
- Trans fat – They have been linked to inflammation, insulin resistance and belly fat
- Fruit flavoured yogurt – Flavoured yogurts are made from non-fat or low-fat milk and loaded with carbs and sugar. Plain yogurt can be a good option for people with type 2 diabetes
- Flavoured coffee – Consider this as a liquid dessert and not a healthy beverage as it is loaded with calories and carbs that result in weight gain
- Honey – Other forms of sugar – including natural sugars such as honey – can cause blood sugar spikes. Type 2 diabetes persons should also avoid brown sugar and maple syrup
- Dried fruit – When a fruit is dried, it loses water that leads to even higher concentrations of vitamins and minerals. Dried fruits may contain more than three times as many carbs as fresh fruits do. Hence, type 2 diabetes persons should avoid them
- Packaged snacks – They are nothing but mostly refined flour and supply few nutrients to the body. In fact, some packaged foods may contain more carbs than mentioned on their nutritional label.
Diabetic food list of fruits
When it comes to diabetes eating fruits, there is a lot of confusion as the information is quite misleading. Diabetes persons should always eat fruits in moderation, then be it any fruit. These are high in natural sugars. Therefore, you need to restrict your fruit intake to no more than 2-3 fruits a day. Here is a list of the worst fruits and vegetables for diabetics to avoid
The above-mentioned fruits are the worst fruits and vegetables for diabetics to avoid because have a high glycemic index. Consumption of these fruits can cause unusual spikes in blood sugar levels and lead to serious health complications.
Even if you don’t appear to be at the risk of being a diabetic, being aware of the symptoms and causes may help make the necessary lifestyle changes that will further decrease the risk of diabetes. Keeping your blood sugar levels in normal range will make you feel better and will help stay healthy life-long.
Try these diabetic-friendly recipes
At Health Total, our scientific approach to food science and Ayurveda creates an easy-to-follow diet plan. Our diabetes food list helps to control blood glucose, improve the glucose tolerance and maintain the same in the long run. So why pop pills when you can manage diabetes the natural way! If you have diabetes or prediabetes, call our toll-free 1-800-843-0206 to book an appointment, and get your personalized best food for diabetes control food plan today! Get first Free Consultation!