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7 Foods to Avoid If You Have Diabetes – World Diabetes Day 2021

Assist. Prof. Dr. Fahmina Ashfaq

3 min read

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World Diabetes Day is observed on 14th November every year to spread awareness regarding diabetes mellitus, an incurable and debilitating disease that is a growing concern worldwide.

World Diabetes Day returns with a new theme after every few years. The theme for World Diabetes Day 2021-23 is “access to diabetes care”. The worldwide campaign aims to shed light on the fact that numerous people all over the world are still not getting easy access to treatment for diabetes.

So what is diabetes and what foods are off-limits if you have been diagnosed with diabetes? Read all about it here!

Table of Contents

What is Diabetes?


Diabetes is a chronic disease that is characterized by an inability of the body to produce insulin or to be able to use it in an appropriate manner. In a normal person, insulin helps convert the sugar (glucose) into energy, therefore, regulating blood sugar levels.

However, in a diabetic person, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or use it in an effective way. This thereby hinders the breakdown of sugar and as a result, too much sugar remains in your bloodstream. With the passage of time, this can lead to serious health problems if the condition is not managed or dealt with.

Now that we’re past the introduction, familiarize yourself with a harsh reality if you weren’t already aware, diabetes CANNOT be cured. As depressing as that may sound, diabetes can still be managed and controlled.

Diabetes management can help you avoid many of the complications of diabetes like heart attack, stroke eye damage (retinopathy), hearing loss, vision loss, foot damage, etc.

Effective diabetes management is incomplete without following a proper diet plan. If you aren’t sure what the adequate diet for diabetes is, consider going to your diabetes doctor or diabetologist for expert advice.

When it comes to diet for diabetes patients, there are some types of foods that are a big NO. Consuming these foods may adversely affect your health or worsen your condition.

List of the Worst Foods For Diabetes

Following are the worst foods for diabetes that you must avoid:

1. Sugary beverages

If you’re suffering from diabetes then drinking a can of Coca Cola might not be the best option. Research shows that there is an association between sugar-sweetened beverages and type 2 diabetes.

Moreover, sugar-sweetened beverages are loaded with carbs and fructose which make them unhealthy for diabetic patients. Drinking sugary beverages excessively can cause a rise in your sugar levels and lead to severe complications like liver disease, heart disease, etc.

Soda is probably one of the worst drink choices for diabetics as it’s loaded with sugar content. For example, Coke contains approximately 10.6g of sugar per 100ml. Now imagine drinking a 500ml bottle of Cola that would the equivalent of consuming around 12 teaspoons (50g) of sugar!

2. White bread

White bread is high in carbohydrates and consuming it can shoot up your sugar levels. Processed food made from white flour, like, white bread, pasta, and rice, should therefore be avoided if you are someone with diabetes.

But if you must eat bread, then it’s better to switch bread that is made with refined white flour, with a high fiber bread like whole grain bread. Adding fiber to your diet can reduce blood sugar levels which can keep diabetes complications at bay.

3. Honey

Natural sugars like honey should be avoided at call costs. They are rich in fructose and contain high amounts of carbohydrates that can raise your blood sugar levels beyond the safe mark.

Honey contains about 82g of carbs per 100 grams which is way too high, and therefore unhealthy if you’re managing diabetes.

Natural or unnatural, sweeteners should be used in moderation. Ask your diabetologist or nutritionist, before adding them to your diet

4. French fries

As you may already know, junk food is another red flag when it comes to a diabetes-friendly diet. When we talk about fast food, french fries are the quintessential item that usually accompanies burgers, sandwiches, fried chicken etc.

However, as tempting as it is to enjoy french fries, diabetics should steer clear of them. French fries contain high amounts of carbs that can quickly raise your blood sugar levels. What’s more? they are usually deep-fried in unhealthy oils that can increase your risk of heart disease.

5. Jams & Jellies

Jams & jellies are loaded with sugar and hence extremely bad for diabetics. They are usually spread on bread which in itself is high in carbs.

So you should be cautious about eating jams and jellies and adopt healthier eating options for your breakfast like eggs, oatmeal, and food that is high in fiber.

6. Ice Cream

Ice cream is usually packed with sugar and has an excess amount of fat that is bad for your arteries. Eating ice cream and other frozen desserts mindlessly can raise your blood sugar levels and pose a serious risk to your health.

If ice cream is something you really enjoy having or if you’re having a major craving for it then there are some low-carb ice-creams available which you can try but even then consult your doctor before having any.

7. Dried Fruit

Beware of dried fruit! Eating dried fruit can cause a spike in your blood sugar levels. Instead opt for fresh fruits that are low in sugar in order to maintain a healthy, diabetes friendly diet.

Why is dried fruit bad? Because it contains far more carbs and sugar content then regular fruit. When fruit is dried, its sugar content becomes more concentrated and potent. Therefore avoid eating raisins, dates, etc. and add more fresh, low-sugar fruits like strawberries and peaches to your diet.

Here’s a list of diabetes friendly fruits given by ADA that are safe to add to your diet:

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Honeydew melon
  • Kiwi
  • Mango
  • Nectarine
  • Orange
  • Papaya
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Plums
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Tangerines
  • Watermelon
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Assist. Prof. Dr. Fahmina Ashfaq
Assist. Prof. Dr. Fahmina Ashfaq - Author Assist. Prof. Dr. Fahmina Ashfaq is one of the best Internal Medicine Specialist in Lahore. Not only does She have a number of certifications including M.B.B.S, M.R.C.P (UK) and M.C.C.E.E (Canada) but She also has 14 years of experience in her field. She is also a well trained Family Physician.
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