Foods to Never Eat if You Have Diabetes

Foods to Never Eat if You Have Diabetes

When you're a diabetic, food can undermine your efforts to manage your disease. A smart strategy for diabetics is to avoid foods that are high in sugar and sodium, as they can cause dangerous blood-sugar spikes and increase blood pressure. Some foods are obvious. If you're trying to control your sugar level, don't reach for candy or sugary sodas. When you're watching your sodium, salty potato chips and french fries aren't good options. Other foods to avoid as a diabetic are less obvious. Here are five foods you should never eat if you have diabetes.

1. Fruit juice

While many whole fruits (in moderation) are healthy options for diabetics, fruit juices are not. Even 100-percent-pure juices with nothing else added are loaded with sugar. Because they lack the filling fiber of whole fruits, the natural sugars in fruit juice are highly concentrated per serving. This can cause weight gain and dangerous blood sugar spikes.

2. Certain fruits

If you're shocked to learn fruit juice is bad for diabetics, you'll be dumbfounded to learn that you should cut out certain whole fruits, too. Bananas, melons, peaches, plums and nectarines are high-sugar fruits. Because they're so sweet and delicious, it's easy to lose track and eat several servings of these fruits. Rather than risk a blood-sugar spike, reach for lower-sugar fruits such as apples and berries.

3. Processed lunch meats

Before you reach for that tub of turkey or ham to make yourself a seemingly healthy sandwich for lunch, stop! Processed meats are packed with sodium, a major contributor to high blood pressure. If you check the label of even fat-free lunch meats, you'll be shocked to find as much as 650 milligrams of sodium per serving. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that high-risk individuals (including diabetics) limit their daily sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams per day. That means one ham sandwich could eat up half of your daily sodium allowance.

4. White rice

A study of more than 350,000 people concluded that the more white rice that subjects ate, the higher their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Unlike whole-grain brown rice, which lowers diabetes risk, white rice is highly processed and has the same effect on blood sugar levels as sugar.

5. Trail mix

The fruits in trail mix are dehydrated, which concentrates their sugars. Additionally, dehydration shrinks the size of the fruit, making it easy to overindulge. You can easily consume the equivalent of several whole fruits without realizing it. Skip the mix and enjoy a handful of better-for-you nuts instead.

Learning which foods are and aren't safe for diabetics takes time. When in doubt, ask your doctor or nutritionist, as it's better to be safe than sorry. Consider keeping a list of "bad" foods on your refrigerator and scan it before you head to the grocery store. Over time, healthy eating will become second nature and you'll know exactly which foods to put in your diet and which to leave out in order to manage your diabetes.