For people with diabetes or pre-diabetes, making healthy dietary choices is an important aspect of disease management. In particular, patients should avoid foods that are known to spike blood sugar to keep their levels within a healthy range. Even for individuals who aren’t diabetic, limiting or avoiding these foods can help to prevent against serious health issues, including insulin resistance, obesity, and heart disease. Discover some of the worst culprits behind elevated blood sugar below.
White Grain Products
While limiting your consumption of grain products may have certain health benefits, you don’t have to skip rice and bread products altogether. Simply steer clear of white rice and bread, and opt for whole-grain varieties instead. In particular, eating white rice regularly has been associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. This could be a result of the food’s lack of fiber, which helps to regulate blood sugar levels. White bread, too, is linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It’s made from refined flour, which is digested too quickly and can therefore spike blood sugar.
Too much red meat increases the likelihood of developing diabetes, especially when it’s processed. Even just two slices of bacon or one hot dog eaten daily can increase a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as 51%. Red meat has also been linked to higher levels of colorectal cancer and cardiovascular disease. Researchers suspect that while the saturated fat found in red meat is one part of the problem, the high level of sodium, which can increase blood pressure and create insulin resistance, is also to blame.
Fried, greasy foods may look appetizing, but they’re among the worst offenders on this list. Most varieties have soaring calorie, fat, and salt counts, all of which spike blood sugar. Salty fast food is particularly dangerous, as it can increase blood pressure. Because diabetes patients already face a higher risk of heart disease, controlling blood pressure is critically important to their health.
Commercially prepared baked goods and other packaged snacks should be avoided, or at least eaten in moderation. Many of these options have harmful additives and are high in trans fats, which can impact your cholesterol and lead to inflammation. Snacking on whole foods, such as a handful of almonds, vegetable sticks, roasted chick peas, and hard-boiled eggs will deliver more nutritious benefits in between meals.
As mentioned above, saturated fat can lead to insulin resistance, or the body’s inability to use insulin for energy. When this happens, insulin builds up in the blood, leading to higher blood sugar levels. While not all dairy contributes to this issue, whole milk and other full-fat dairy products are particularly high in saturated fats. For this reason, diabetics should choose reduced or nonfat dairy products, including yogurts and cheeses, whenever possible.