Diet is a frequently discussed topic even when you don’t have diabetes. But if you’re one of the millions of Americans that have been diagnosed with this condition? Well, what you eat is going to be even more important.
An unhealthy diet is one of the leading causes of certain types of diabetes. It can also contribute to complications such as diabetic neuropathy, weight gain, heart disease, and many other health conditions. And unfortunately, here in America, it’s all too easy to make the wrong diet choices.
Wondering what foods can give you diabetes? Keep reading below for a quick list of food options that you should avoid to help prevent or slow the development of diabetes.
What foods contribute to diabetes? 5 foods to say no to
1. Processed carbs
What food is the leading cause of diabetes? If we had to pick one, it would be this: highly processed carbs.
Foods made from white flour, white sugar, or white rice are not as good for you as their whole counterparts. This is because processed foods undergo a refinement process that removes many helpful nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
When you opt for processed carbs or foods made from processed carbs, you’re essentially ingesting all the calories with few of the nutrients. Add in the fact that many of these foods contain lots of sugar and can spike your blood glucose levels, and you can see why it’s best to keep them out of your diet.
- Whole wheat pasta
- Whole wheat bread and baked goods
- Brown rice
- Unrefined grains (barley, quinoa, etc.)
- Alternative flours
2. Fried foods
Fried foods are a potent source of both trans fats and saturated fats, which can lead to elevated cholesterol levels and weight gain. High cholesterol is one of the risk factors for certain types of diabetes, so avoid fried foods like french fries, fried chicken, onion rings, and other fried food staples.
- Baked foods
- Air-fried foods
- Whole foods
3. Red or processed meats
Most red meats and processed meats are high in saturated fats. These fats can increase your risk of heart disease. Sausage, bacon, hot dogs, skin-on poultry, and ground beef are the most common culprits. Enjoy them occasionally but turn to other sources for the bulk of your protein and nutrition needs.
- Skinless chicken breasts
- Fatty fish
4. Fast foods
Eating out is often convenient, time-saving, and tasty, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you. All too often, fast foods and restaurant items are full of hidden sugars, saturated fats, and excessive amounts of sodium.
- Healthy snacks (e.g., fruit, veggies, whole wheat crackers, natural nut butter, etc.)
- Home-cooked meals
- Grilled or baked foods (instead of fried)
- Low-calorie menu items
5. High-sugar drinks
If there’s anything worse than high-sugar foods, it’s high-sugar drinks. Drinking sugary beverages like soda, fruit juice, sweetened teas, energy drinks, and lemonades is one of the most common diet risk factors associated with diabetes. All that sugar can lead to increased insulin resistance, and all those empty calories offer no nutritional benefit.
- Infused waters
- Black coffee
- Sparkling water
- Coconut water
- Unsweetened or herbal teas
- Vegetable juice or green smoothies
- Skim milk or milk alternatives
Understanding what foods trigger diabetes is an important part of developing a healthy diet. Once you recognize these diet habits, you can remove them from your daily menu and better manage your diabetes.