Diabetes should not stop you from living your life. According to a projection by the International Diabetes Federation, the number of patients suffering from diabetes would reach up to 123 Million by the end of 2040. The numbers are alarming indeed. If the epidemic of modern living- diabetes- has turned your world upside down, this article is for you. Know all about what foods to avoid with diabetes, types of diabetes, diabetic diet plan, diabetic food chart, and best foods for diabetics.
Table Of Contents
Types Of Diabetes
Diabetes can be broadly classified into three types: Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational.
It is an autoimmune disease where your body’s immune system attacks certain types of cells, known as beta cells, in the pancreas. This sort of permanent damage negatively affects the insulin-producing capacity of the pancreas, thereby, causing diabetes. Generally, a genetic predisposition towards diabetes is the main reason behind the occurrence of this type.
This type of diabetes is caused due to the body’s incapability in using insulin effectively. Generally, insulin resistance is the starting stage of this type of diabetes, stimulating the pancreas to produce a large amount of insulin which later culminates in diabetes. Later, the body can no longer keep up with the insulin demands, leading to a decrease in insulin production and a rise in blood sugar. Lack of exercise, too much intake of sugar, genetics, stress and being overweight are the contributory factors towards Type 2 diabetes.
This type of diabetes occurs during pregnancy due to the production of insulin-blocking hormones.
Diabetes is particularly more dangerous in pregnancy as it can harm both the mother and the child. It even increases the risk of high blood pressure, preeclampsia, miscarriage or stillbirth, and severe birth defects.
Symptoms of Diabetes
Some of the general symptoms of diabetes are:
‣ Frequent Urination
‣ Excessive thirst
‣ Pangs of hunger striking at odd hours
‣ Dry skin and itchiness
‣ Fatigue and lethargy
‣ Slow-healing wounds
‣ Blurry vision etc.
Apart from these general symptoms, diabetes can generate different reactions in the body according to its type. For example, Type 1 diabetes- the most common type of diabetes- can generate symptoms like weight loss caused due to Diabetic Ketoacidosis. The complete absence of insulin in contrast to the presence of high blood sugar gives rise to Diabetic Ketoacidosis. Type 2 Diabetes generates symptoms like dark patches of skin and pain or numbness in feet.
Why Carbs Matter?
Every diabetic patient is told to fear carbs. In fact, some of the diabetes diet plans work around carb counting. Is carb really the enemy it is made to be? Well, the answer is a mix of both Yes and No. Carbs do affect blood sugar level but not all carbs are equal. While you might not need to completely eliminate carbs from your diet, you do need to watch your intake.
Carbohydrates, broadly classified into simple and complex type, supply some of the most essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and fibre. Complex carbs are better than the simple ones. Since complex carbs are made of long chains of sugars, they take more time in breaking down. Hence, complex carbs release energy rather gradually as compared to the simple carbs.
Following foods contain complex carbs:
‣ Whole wheat grains
‣ Kidney beans
‣ Leafy greens
These are the foods you can eat without worrying much. Avoid baked goodies, white starchy food like bread and rice, white refined sugar, colas, and fruit juice concentrates- for they all contain simple carbs.
Just plan your diabetic diet sensibly and you wouldn't need to count your carbs every second.
List Of Foods To Avoid
Though, nutritionists, these days develop a specific diabetic diet for patients incorporating a diabetic food chart with recommended foods to be eaten in diabetics. But if you cannot afford stick to a rigorous diabetic diet plan, you can follow this list of foods diabetic patients should avoid.
Avoid refined grains and products made from refined flour because they are high on glycemic index. Foods high in glycemic index affect blood sugar quickly, causing an instant rush of insulin, as soon as they are eaten leading to crashes later. This instability makes diabetes worse. Avoid:
‣ White rice, pasta, flour (maida)
‣ White bread
‣ Cookies, cakes and muffins
‣ Ice cream
Protein can be broken down into sugar and it has been suggested, through various researches, that eating a large amount of red meat can slowly increase the risk of diabetes. If you wish to thwart the diabetes monster right in its path, avoid eating red meat (beef, pork, and lamb), ribs, processed meat, deep-fried meat and fish, and high sodium meat.
Don’t get us wrong. We aren’t asking you to leave everything you love to eat. Just avoid high-fat dairy products. Say no to full-fat yoghurt, cheeses, milk. Instead, opt for low-fat versions. High-fat content in dairy can make diabetes worse.
4. High Glycemic Fruits and Veggies:
There are certain fruits and vegetables you should not eat if you are suffering from diabetes. Based on their glycemic index, such veggies and fruits can cause a sharp rise in blood sugar as soon as they are eaten. Examples are: banana, grapes, kiwi, etc.
5. Packaged foods:
Certain packaged foods contain a high glycemic index as well. These are:
‣ Canned or dried fruits
‣ Jam, jellies, ice creams
‣ Maple syrup and applesauce
‣ Sweetened beverages like Cola, Sherbet, and Thandai etc.
‣ Canned vegetables
‣ Fruit juices and packaged fruit drinks
5. Trans Fat:
Trans-fats are unhealthy and have the potential to worsen diabetes. Trans-fats don’t directly make blood sugar rise but can indirectly adversely affect. Trans- fat increase inflammation in the body that further leads to insulin resistance. It is best to avoid following high trans- fat food items in diabetes:
‣ Peanut butter, creamy spreads, mayonnaise
‣ Creamers, margarine, crackers
‣ Deep fried food like pakoras, fritters, French fries, bhaturas, chicken wings, fried chicken
‣ Junk food like burger, pizza, pasta, spaghetti etc.
‣ Food high in fat and cheese
‣ Packaged Snack Foods like Chips, Pretzels, and Crackers etc.
‣ Baked goodies like muffin, cupcakes, doughnut etc.
It might be difficult to keep remember the checklist of foods to avoid with diabetes. Let us make this easy for you. The bottom line is to avoid anything that has a high amount of fat, liquid sugar, refined carbs or processed grains. Remember your best friends in diabetes are: whole grain food, complex carbs, healthy fats, and fruits and veggies that lie low on glycemic index.