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Diabetes is a chronic disease or say, a lifelong condition in which a person's body becomes incapable of making or using insulin in an effective way. The condition is also referred to as insulin resistance.
The management of diabetes depends on many factors; however, diet plays a vital role in efficiently managing the condition for a longer period.
The main problem diabetics often face is the options of foods to include in their diet.
Some foods, though seem healthy, are high in saturated fats, added sugars and carbs and may worsen diabetes by increasing the sugar levels and cholesterol in the body and cause complications such as obesity and heart diseases.
Avoiding these unhealthy foods or choosing a healthy alternative to these foods is the best way of managing diabetes and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This article includes a list of healthy foods which diabetics must avoid.
Rice is enriched with vitamins, minerals and fibre. It is known to boost energy, improve the immune system, reduce skin problems and reduce inflammation in the body. However, due to extra processing, it may contain a greater number of carbs that can increase glucose levels in the body. If you are a diabetic, opt for brown rice as it is much healthier than white rice.
Coffee is known to boost physical performance, burn fat and improve focus and concentration due to the presence of vital nutrients like riboflavin, manganese and potassium. However, blended coffees that are laced with syrup, sugar, whipped cream should be avoided. Having a cup of hot black coffee with no sugar is a better option.
Bananas are rich in potassium, vitamin B6, magnesium, vitamin c and fibre. They are heart-healthy and rich in antioxidants. However, ripe bananas contain around 16 per cent more sugar content than raw bananas which may affect the insulin levels of a diabetic.
4. Fruit juices
Market-based fruit juices are less in fibre and vital nutrients, compared to the intact fruit, as their original nutrient content often get lost due to peeling or blending of the pulp. Also, they contain added sugars and ingredients which increase their carbohydrates content. Therefore, it is better to eat the whole fruit instead of drinking a glass of juice. Fruit juices are one of the unhealthy foods that may cause diabetes.
Cereals, especially sweetened breakfast cereals, contain a high amount of artificial sugar coating which is not good for diabetics. These cereals are highly processed and contain more carbs. Also, they are low in protein, which is essential to keep blood sugar levels stable.
Cookies are usually made from white flour, milk and sugar. White flours contain refined carbohydrates and fewer vitamins and minerals compared to whole grains as the prior undergo a lot of processing. Avoid foods made from white flour and opt for whole grains food items.
Poultry such as chicken and eggs are healthy treats as they are rich in proteins and vitamins. However, when the chicken and eggs are fried, their fat content may increase which may hike glucose levels in the body. Therefore, prefer lean meat over thick meat pieces and opt for grilling, broiling or roasting meat items.
8. Energy or protein bars
Energy or protein bars are a good choice for pre-or post-workout snacks as their help boost energy and repair muscles. However, they are packed with high calories, fat, sugars and carbohydrates. You can opt for high-fibre whole-grain energy bars with fat-free milk.
Most granola is sweetened with sugar or honey and a bunch of dried fruits. It is a source of concentrated carbohydrates and a small serving of the food can add up to a greater number of calories and carbs. Avoid market-based granola bar and prefer home-made with less dried fruits and unsweetened.
Market-based yoghurts such as fruit-flavoured yoghurt are made from fruit sweeteners, high-fat milk and loaded with carbs and sugar. A cup of fruit-flavoured yoghurt may contain around 81% of calories due to its high sugar content. Greek yoghurt is the best alternative for diabetes as they are low in calories and do not contain any added sugar or flavoured ingredients.
Smoothies are rich in fibre and proteins and efficiently help in weight low as it helps keep a person fuller for longer. However, most of the market-based smoothies come with multiple servings of pureed fruit and this is more for the serving limit of a diabetes diet. They are also loaded with sugar and flavoured ingredients. It is better to prepare smoothies at home without any sugar.
Oats are high in fibre and best to manage diabetes. However, flavoured oatmeal is often less in fibre and nutrients and are packed with sugar and unwanted ingredients. Before buying oatmeal, it is better to check for the labels on an oatmeal packet to find the value of fibre and ingredients.
Honey is a natural sweetener and the best alternative for sugar in a diabetes diet. Though honey is considered safe for diabetes due to its antioxidative and anti-inflammatory activities, it may worsen diabetes in some due to high sucrose content. As moderation is the key to any sweetener, a moderate amount of honey can be good for diabetics.
14. Dried fruits
Dried fruits such as almonds, raisins, dried figs and dried apricots are high in sugar content as drying concentrates the sugar and thus, increase their calories count. Excess consumption of dried fruits can increase glucose levels in diabetics. Therefore, dried fruits can be added to the diabetes diet as fruit alternatives.