Today’s topic isn’t just for anyone who is diabetic…
- it’s for anyone who is pre-diabetic
- if you want or need to lower your blood sugar or A1C levels
- if you’re concerned about memory, cognition and specifically, Alzheimer’s disease (which is now called type 3 diabetes)
- if you want to lose fat, especially the stubborn belly fat
- if you want to improve your blood pressure and/or cholesterol levels
Actually, I can go on and on. But the point is that any foods that increase your blood sugar to high levels, that put stress on your pancreas and decrease insulin sensitivity will eventually cause the above-mentioned illnesses and thus, MUST be avoided.
In fact, the secret to longevity is greatly determined by managing your blood sugar levels.
And there are lots of ways to do this naturally – specific forms of exercise, stress management, clinically proven herbs, vitamins and of course, your diet – which is what I’m going to quickly discuss today.
And no, it’s not always about carbohydrates…
So let’s get started with 5 foods that you should avoid if you have diabetes or want to avoid it or simply, want to look and feel younger:
1 — Sugar-Sweetened Beverages
I think by far, the worst foods are sugar-sweetened beverages. This includes sodas of course, but lots of other drinks have added sugars as well — lemonade, sweetened iced tea, coffees, and even some fruit juices.
In fact, I’d say that even regular fruit juice should be avoided as well.
One main problem is you can drink hundreds of calories in minutes – which you could NEVER do if you were to eat real food. Even if it were a big plate of pasta or rice.
Not only do all of these drinks contain pure sugar and thus, almost instantly spike up your blood sugar and insulin levels. But the typically contain the worst type of, the man-made sugar called — high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
This is super concentrated fructose, which is the sugar found in fruits.
Simply stated, it’s a negative nutrient partitioning agent and thus, 100 calories of HFCS, will convert to fat, much faster than other foods — even regular sugar or white bread.
So, just avoid it and make sure you read the label because HFCS is found in so many products.
2 — Syrups
In addition to high fructose corn syrup, you need to also avoid other types of “syrups”, such as maple syrup, honey, and agave nectar and similar sugar-packed foods.
They may be “natural” and not man-made like HFCS, but they produce similar negative effects.
3 — Artificial Sweeteners
So at this point, you may be thinking “fine, no sugars, I’ll just use some artificial, no-calorie sweeteners”… BAD MOVE.
These are also linked to diabetes1,2,4 and a host of other health problems such as cancer, inflammation, decreased immunity, and infertility.3
So far, the research has shown that the best, safest, and no-calorie sweetener is Stevia – which is actually an herb, not man-made. In fact, it can help LOWER blood sugar, in addition to blood pressure and cholesterol levels.5-7
I also like Xylitol, but in higher dosages can cause stomach problems.
4 — Cereal
Eating cereal is one of the worst ways to start your day, especially if you have diabetes or you’re concerned about your blood sugar.
Despite the health claims on their boxes, most cereals are highly processed and contain far more carbs than many people realize. Plus, it contains bad carbs — such as corn, wheat, and sugar.
In addition, they provide very little protein, a nutrient that can help you feel full and satisfied while keeping your blood sugar levels stable during the day.8
Anything that comes in a box, that’s man-made and produced by multi-billion dollar companies should be avoided!
5 — Unhealthy Fats
Even though carbs, specifically higher amounts of those that have a high glycemic index and glycemic load, cause an increase in the blood sugar – the other problem is insulin sensitivity.
When your cells aren’t as sensitive to insulin, your body has to produce more and more, to get the same “blood sugar lowering” effect. Eventually, your burn out your pancreas and you then become diabetic.
I’m simplified this a bit, but I hope you get the point — your goal is to lower blood sugar levels AND improve insulin sensitivity.
Well, but avoiding the foods I’ve mentioned today, you will for sure help lower blood sugar levels.
However, there’s one type of food that does NOT increase your blood sugar, but it does cause a major decrease in insulin sensitivity and that’s “bad fats”.
These include “trans fats”, which are found in margarine, peanut butter, spreads, creamers, frozen foods, crackers, snacks, muffins, and baked goods.
Although trans fats (also known as partially hydrogenated) don’t directly raise blood sugar levels, they’ve been linked to increased inflammation, insulin resistance, and belly fat, as well as lower “good” HDL cholesterol levels and impaired arterial function.9-12
Additionally, you need to limit your omega 6 fats, which is found in high amounts in vegetable and seed oils such as:
These oils are completely unnatural and cause massive insulin insensitivity, which can lead to diabetes and a host of other “inflammatory” diseases.13-16
Knowing which foods to avoid when you have diabetes or you’re concerned about your blood sugar can sometimes seem tough. You may feel like you can’t eat anything.
I know this very well because I have diabetes in my own family. In fact, you can get more information about how my uncle lowered his blood sugar naturally, reversed his diabetes & lost 34 lbs.
However, let me simplify things:
- Your main goals should include staying away from unhealthy fats, liquid sugars, processed grains and other foods that contain refined carbs.
- Avoiding foods that increase your blood sugar levels and cause insulin resistance can help keep you healthy now and reduce your risk of future diabetes complications.
- Eat as natural as possible. Avoid man-made products that come in a box and are filled with lots of ingredients. Keep it simple!
In a future article, I’ll go over some of the best foods to eat if you’re a diabetic or concerned about your blood sugar levels.
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- Biochem Pharmacol 2009 Mar 15;77(6):937-46
- The Atlantic June 22, 2012
- Am J Clin Nutr June 2006 vol. 83 no. 6 S1483-1493S
- Am J Clin Nutr June 2006 vol. 83 no. 6 S1505-1519S