Diabetes is a serious health problem that affects many people worldwide. It’s like a silent danger because it can harm our bodies without us even knowing. Things like family history, not moving around much, and eating unhealthy foods can make diabetes more likely.
To understand why this is a big issue, let’s look at some numbers. The IDF Diabetes Atlas in 2022 shows that the number of people with diabetes has gone up a lot – more than three times – since 2000. Back then, 151 million people had it, and now it’s 537 million. It might go up to 783 million by 2045. That’s a lot of people dealing with diabetes.
This problem is growing in India, too. Research from the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation and the Indian Council of Medical Research says that 5 million people in India are in danger of getting diabetes.
Now, why is this a big deal? It’s a big deal because diabetes can cause a lot of health problems, and we need to find ways to manage it. One important way is by thinking about the food we eat. The food choices we make can really help in controlling diabetes.
So, everyone must know about diabetes, how it’s growing, and how our food choices can make a big difference in dealing with this health challenge.
What Are The Types Of Diabetes?
There are primarily two main types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes: This chronic condition prevents your pancreas from producing adequate insulin. It also disturbs your body’s ability to control blood sugar levels effectively. There is some diet for type 1 diabetes patients that you should know.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body cells fail to effectively use the insulin your body produces. Nevertheless, the right medicine, regular medical checkups, and healthy lifestyle changes can help you manage this chronic condition effectively. Lifestyle changes here mean embracing positive life choices and maintaining a healthy, nutritious diet to control blood sugar levels. This is particularly crucial if diabetes runs in your family.
What Are The 5 Worst Foods For Diabetics
Avoiding the foods listed below can help you maintain balanced blood sugar levels:
1. Fried Food
This is the worst fast food for diabetics. Deep-fried food such as cakes, fish fry, fried dumplings, onion rings, fried flatbread, chicken nuggets, fried chicken, and French fries are no doubt mouthwatering, but these food items are a strict no-no for a diabetic. Since deep-fried food absorbs excessive fat during frying, these foods are high in calories, especially trans-fat. Consuming excess trans-fat can elevate the risk of diabetes by decelerating digestion.
Harvard School of Public Health also confirms that fried foods enhance the risk of various health conditions, including Type 2 Diabetes. Therefore, diabetic and pre-diabetic individuals must consume either baked, roasted, or boiled food instead of deep-fried foods.
2. Frozen or Pre-Cooked Food
Frozen meals offer convenience but are not ideal for those with diabetes. Frozen fish, chicken, or pre-cooked veggies may seem healthy, but they often contain harmful additives, trans fat, and excessive sodium, which negatively impact the nutritional value of such food. High sodium intake can contribute to heart issues, elevated blood pressure, and kidney problems. Diabetic patients are already prone to these health hazards, and excessive salt in pre-cooked food further elevates that risk.
A 2019 JAMA Internal Medicine study links eating “ultra-processed” foods with a higher chance of acquiring diabetes. Therefore, you must choose fresh, whole foods for better health.
3. Refined Carbohydrates
While carbohydrates are crucial for survival, individuals with diabetes must restrict their carb intake to manage blood sugar levels. Refined carbs, such as white bread, desserts, and baked goods, are full of hidden dangers as they quickly raise your blood sugar levels. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) warns that a diet high in refined carbohydrates can contribute to Diabetes. Health professionals, therefore, advise diabetics to choose carbs with a lower glycemic index. Instead of consuming harmful carbs, you may choose high-fiber and nutrient-dense alternatives such as brown rice, wild rice, oatmeal, figs, quinoa, buckwheat, and sweet potatoes. These choices help regulate blood sugar and promote overall health for individuals managing diabetes.
4. Sugary Drinks
Aerated drinks and other sugary beverages such as iced tea, regular sodas, and pre-made fruit smoothies are not recommended for people living with diabetes. Such drinks are loaded with excessive sugar (refined carbs). Additionally, sugary drinks lack nutritional benefits. According to health experts, individuals who regularly consume these beverages face a 26% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those who don’t. Moreover, excess sugar consumption can cause various complexities related to diabetes, such as obesity, fatty liver disease, and hyperglycemia.
However, consuming moderate quantities of sugar is acceptable within a balanced diet. The CDC recommends keeping sugar consumption below 10% of daily caloric intake for anyone over two.
5. Whole Milk
Sugar and saturated fat present in whole milk can make you gain weight, besides causing increased insulin resistance. The National Institute of Health (NIH) claims that early exposure to cow’s milk may multiply the chances of developing diabetes in high-risk children. Likewise, researchers at Diabetes.co.uk assert that cow’s insulin in cow’s milk increases the quantity of autoantibodies, thus, raising the risk of Type 1 diabetes. Individuals prioritizing their health, therefore, choose unsweetened, low-calorie milk substitutes like soy milk or almond milk over whole milk to regulate their blood sugar levels.
1. Sweetened Cereals
Sugary cereals, such as sweetened muesli and flavored cornflakes, are not recommended for breakfast due to their high complex carb and lactose content. These sugary treats can instantly raise blood sugar levels. Instead of sugar-coated cereals, choose healthy options such as a low-carb cereal packed with nuts. Replace whole milk with almond milk as it is lactose-free and offers beneficial nutrients that control your blood sugar levels.
2. Ripe Mangoes
Who doesn’t love mangoes-the king of fruits? However, ripe mangoes contain sugar and carbohydrates and have a glycemic index 56. Therefore, diabetic patients must avoid consuming mangoes. However, if mangoes are something you cannot resist, you can still enjoy them in small portions. Simultaneously, you must avoid consuming other carb-loaded food for that day to control your blood sugar levels.
3. Energy Bars
Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics must steer clear of energy bars due to their high content of carbohydrates, sugar, and saturated fats designed for quick energy. Most energy bars contain around 60g of carbs and 450 calories, potentially leading to a rapid spike in blood sugar levels. Sadly, many are as unhealthy as high-calorie candy or granola bars. Thus, energy bars are an unfavorable choice for those managing diabetes. Additionally, you can try the remedies that help you with diabetes.
Does that mean you have to give up enjoying beverages?
If you are a diabetic looking for a delicious summer drink, try adding slices of strawberries, cucumber, lemon, and mint leaves to plain water for a refreshing treat. Another option is freshly squeezed juices or smoothies without added sugar to fulfill your cravings. Always try the best foods for diabetes.
What’s more, you may also try diabetes-friendly protein shakes.
Diet is one of the fundamental aspects of diabetes management. Individuals dealing with diabetes must avoid the food mentioned above items to keep their diet in check.
Living with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes doesn’t imply that you have to give up the foods you enjoy. It simply means making thoughtful choices. You can still indulge in your favorite treats by opting for smaller portions occasionally to manage your carbohydrate and calorie intake effectively. A certified dietician can help you with a diabetes-friendly diet chart so that you can effectively manage diabetes and its prolonged consequences. Remember, it’s not about deprivation; it’s about making informed choices to keep diabetes in check. Trust your dietitian to guide you on this journey.
If you need more information on a diabetes-friendly diet, consult our medical experts today!
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