7 Worst Foods You Can Eat for Diabetes (+ Healthy Alternatives)
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As one of the most common illnesses in the U.S., diabetes has been studied extensively during the past few years. Aside from taking the right treatment recommended by your specialist and staying active, your diet can literally change your life as a diabetic.
Gerald Bernstein, M.D., director of the diabetes management program at Friedman Diabetes Institute in New York, the most important thing about your diet is keeping blood sugar within normal limits. That’s exactly why those delicious desserts like cake and sodas are on the no-no list.
However, it’s not just the sweets that make a difference. Turns out, every type of carb matters and unhealthy fats can also increase your risk for heart disease (since diabetics are at high risk for cardiovascular problems).
Whether you want to prevent diabetes or you already have it and you want to avoid any long-term complications, our list of 7 bad foods for diabetes (and their healthier alternatives) is a great place to start.
Ready? Let’s have a look:
#1: White rice
A study taken on 350,000 participants showed that eating white rice on a daily basis increases the risk for developing type 2 diabetes. In fact, any food that is highly processed, fried or cooked with white flour should best be avoided.
Unfortunately, the same goes for white pasta, which is made from highly processed flour as it can increase blood sugar levels in a similar way to sugar. If you’re a pasta enthusiast like me, you can just pick a healthy option as I suggest in my post, ‘What happens in your body when you eat pasta?’.
Captain’s Tip: Did you know that brown rice contains four times more protein than white rice? Much like black rice, this option is very healthy and nutrient-dense; plus, you can cook it just as you’d cook white rice so you won’t feel much of a difference.
#2: Blended coffees
We’ve already made it clear that coffee is our long-time friend that can wake us up nicely and prevent cardiovascular problems.
However, adding syrup, sugar, whipped cream or pretty much any other topping to your morning cup of coffee can easily bring a huge spike in blood sugar levels.
Think about it: just a 16-ounce Frappucino from Starbucks contains 500 calories, 98 grams of carbs and 9 grams of fat. Therefore, while the caffeine itself is healthy, any blended alternatives can do more harm than good.
Captain’s Tip: Next time you ask for a coffee, choose a 12-oz light, non-fat version. This way, you only get 60-200 calories which instantly makes your morning cup much healthier.
#3: Bananas and melons
Surprised to see such healthy foods on the list? So was I, but I’ll let the expert explain the science behind it.
Cathy Doria-Medina, M.D., Los Angeles based endocrinologist, says that melons, bananas and stone fruits such as nectarines and peaches are the richest sources of sugar of all fruits. Consume them in bigger quantities, and you may experience a sugar spike – although this is not necessarily a rule for everyone.
Just as it goes for anything else, moderation is key here too.
Captain’s Tip: If you want to avoid any health risks, fruits like apples, blueberries and berries are low in sugar and can be nicely added to any meal or snack. For example, if you eat mixed berries with peanut butter, you get a nice dose of healthy fats while satisfying your sweet tooth too.