Foods to Avoid When Suffering from Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic disease that can be managed by eating a healthful and balanced diet. Uncontrolled, diabetes may lead to serious consequences like heart disease, kidney disease, blindness among others. Eating the wrong food can raise blood sugar and insulin levels and promote inflammation, which may increase the risk of the disease. However, having diabetes doesn’t mean you avoid certain foods completely. You can eat most foods, but eat some of them in smaller portions. This article will guide you through foods that you should avoid when suffering from diabetes.

Trans Fats

Foods containing industrial trans fats are extremely unhealthy. These trans fats are formed by adding hydrogen to unsaturated fatty acids to make them more stable. Foods containing trans fats include margarine, peanut butter, spreads, creamers, and frozen dinners. Additionally, some manufacturers add them to crackers, muffins, and other baked foods to help extend shelf life.

Although trans-fat may not directly raise blood sugar levels, they are linked to increased inflammation, insulin resistance, belly fat, and impaired arterial function. These effects are worrying for people with diabetes, as they are at an increased risk of heart disease. Fortunately, trans fats are outlawed in most countries, and in 2015 the FDA called for their removal from products in the US market. Until trans fats are completely done away with in food supply, avoid any products that contain the words “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredients list.

Dried Fruits

Fruits, in general, are healthy, but dried fruits undergo a process that results in water loss and increased sugar content. For example, one cup of grapes contains 27 grams of carbs, including 1 gram of fiber. Alternatively, one cup of raisins (dried grapes) contains 115 grams of carbs, 5 of which come from fiber. Meaning raisins contain more than three times as many carbs as grapes do. Having diabetes doesn’t mean you avoid fruits altogether. Look for fresh, frozen or canned fruits without any added sugar.

Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

Sugary beverages are high in carbs, and sugar making them the worst drink choice for someone with diabetes. For example, a 12 ounce can of soda has 39 grams of carbs, exclusively from sugar. Also, these beverages are loaded with fructose, which is linked to insulin resistance and diabetes. Studies suggest that consuming sugar-sweetened beverages can increase the risk of diabetes-related conditions like fatty liver. Plus, the high fructose levels in sugary drinks can lead to metabolic changes that lead to belly fat and potentially harmful cholesterol and triglyceride levels. A study of overweight and obese adults consuming 25% of calories from a high fructose beverage led to increased insulin resistance and belly fat, lower metabolic rate, and worse heart health markers. To avoid these health issues, consume water or unsweetened iced tea instead of sugary beverages.

White Bread, Pasta, Rice

White bread, bagels, pasta, and rice are high carb processed foods. Eating these foods has been shown to significantly increase blood sugar levels in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. A study indicated that gluten-free pasta raised blood sugar in a group of people, with rice-based types having the greatest effect. In another study, it was found that high carb bagel not only raised blood sugar but also decreased brain function in people with type 2 diabetes and mental deficits. These processed foods contain little fiber, which slows down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. Replacing white bread with high fiber bread is reported to reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Besides, it helps in reducing cholesterol and blood pressure.

Fried Foods

We all love deep-fried foods, but if the food has been “breaded” with added carbs like bread crumbs, cornmeal, or flour, such foods need to be avoided. Also, depending on the method of frying, these foods pack a calorie punch when you consider the amount of extra fat involved. Choose foods fried in heart-healthy oils and eat them in moderation. Furthermore, you can purchase an air fryer which allows you to go in on crispy fried veggies and meats without added oil or breading.

Flavored Coffee Drinks

Coffee has multiple health benefits, including a reduced risk of diabetes. However, flavored coffee drinks are unhealthy beverages. Studies have indicated that your brain doesn’t process liquid and solid foods similarly. When you drink calories, you don’t compensate by eating less later. Flavored coffee drinks have high amounts of carbs. Even “light” flavored coffee versions have enough carbs to raise blood sugar levels. For instance, a 16-ounce (454ml) caramel Frappuccino contains 67 grams of carbs and the same size caramel light Frappuccino contains 30 grams of carbs. To avoid spikes in blood sugar and weight gain, choose plain coffee or espresso with a tablespoon of honey cream.


Knowing which foods to avoid when you’re diabetic can sometimes seem tough. But following the above guide will make your eating easier. Your main focus should be to stay away from unhealthy fats, liquid sugars, processed grains and other foods that contain refined carbs.

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