More than 24 million Americans have diabetes; of those, about 6 million don’t know they have it. Experts estimate that number will double to 48 million by 2050, and that is why it’s important to know the Type 2 Diabetes Foods To Avoid. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness and kidney failure among adults. It causes mild to severe nerve damage that, coupled with diabetes-related circulation problems, can often lead to the loss of a leg or foot. Diabetes significantly increases the risk of heart and cardiovascular disease.
The American Heart Association makes a clear connection with diabetes and heart disease, per these statistics:
At least 68 percent of people age 65 or older with diabetes die from some form of heart disease; and 16% die of stroke,
The American Heart Association considers diabetes to be one of the seven major controllable risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
And it’s the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S., directly causing almost 70,000 deaths each year and contributing to thousands more. The good news is that type 2 diabetes is largely preventable. 90% of the cases could be avoided by simply keeping your weight under control, exercising more, eating a healthy diet, and not smoking.
Being overweight or obese is the biggest risk factor for type 2 diabetes. However, diabetes risk is higher if you tend to carry your weight around your abdomen as opposed to your hips and thighs. A lot of belly fat surrounds the abdominal organs and liver and is closely linked to insulin resistance and diabetes. Calories obtained from fructose found in sugary beverages such as soda, energy and sports drinks, coffee, and processed foods like doughnuts, muffins, cereal, candy and granola bars, are more likely to add weight around your abdomen.
Cutting back on sugary foods can mean a slimmer waistline as well as a lower risk of diabetes, per this Harvard T H Chan School Of Public Health study. Losing just 5% to 10% of your total weight can help you lower your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Losing weight and eating healthier can also have a profound effect on your mood, energy, and sense of well being. Just 30-minutes of moderate exercise a day is also beneficial, even 2-15-minute periods of physical activity will work. A couple of choices for a healthy diet are the Mediterranean diet and a heart-healthy diet. Even if you’ve already developed diabetes, it’s not too late to make a positive change. The bottom line is that you have more control over your health than you may think
Taking steps to prevent or control diabetes doesn’t mean living in deprivation; it means eating a tasty, balanced diet that will also boost your energy and improve your mood. You don’t have to give up sweets entirely or resign yourself to a lifetime of bland food. With the healthy recommendations we’ll cover, you can still take pleasure from your meals without feeling hungry or deprived. Whether you’re trying to prevent or control diabetes, your nutritional needs are virtually the same as everyone else, so no special foods are necessary. But you do need to pay attention to some of your food choices, most notably the types of carbohydrates you eat.
Human cells use converted glucose obtained from food, particularly carbohydrates, for energy. The glucose ends up in the bloodstream and there are mechanisms that keep it in balance, preventing glucose levels from getting too low or spiking to high. Any rise in blood sugar signals the pancreas to make and release the hormone insulin.
Insulin serves the purpose of instructing cells which require glucose, to absorb the glucose. Diabetes occurs when the body can’t make enough insulin or can’t properly use the insulin it makes. The onset of diabetes may include any or all these symptoms: From frequent urination and thirst of high blood sugar to fatigue, dizziness, headaches, and mood changes of low blood sugar.
Having type 2 diabetes means that your body doesn’t control blood glucose well. When blood glucose stays too high for too long, serious health problems can develop. Type 1 diabetes, affecting 5% to 10% of those diagnosed with diabetes, occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, stopping the production of insulin. It’s important to control your blood glucose through diet, exercise, and medicine. This can delay or prevent kidney, eye, nerve, and heart disease, and other complications of diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is more stealthy, coming on gradually, sometimes taking years to develop into diagnoisable diabetes. It starts when cells resist absorbing glucose, which then remains in the bloodstream. The body’s mechanism continues to produce insulin, almost uncontrollable, trying to force cells to absorb glucose, and eventually, the insulin-producing cells become exhausted and fail, and that’s when full-blown type 2 diabetes occurs.
When we consistently take in large amounts of calories, our body has mechanisms to process all of this material, which works well in the short term but over the long haul can reduce insulin sensitivity and eventually wear out our insulin-making cells,
says Scott Keatley, a registered dietitian with Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy in New York.
By having a diet in balance, we can avoid many of these long-term issues.
Pre-diabetes occurs when blood-sugar levels get high, but is still correctable and reversible at this stage by changing diet, getting exercise, and loosing weight. Typically blood-glucose levels return to normal if the above activities occur.
A study of 101 men with pre-diabetes was given a self-administered diabetes prevention program over a 6-month period by reducing their portion size of potato and meat and improve their variety of health foods. Loosing an average of 12 pounds and registering better blood sugar levels, they were able to reduce the proportion of energy coming from junk food by 7.6% more than the group who didn’t change their diet and got a four-point increase in their scores.
In women, behavioral and lifestyle changes, correcting issues such as excess weight, lack of exercise, a less-than-healthy diet, smoking, and abstaining from alcohol, are at least 90% effective in preventing type 2 diabetes, according to data from Nurses’ Health Study. Similar results occurred in men, as well. A follow-up NIH Health Professional study showed the typical American diet, combined with lack of physical activity and excess weight, dramatically increases the risk of type 2 diabetes in men.
Information from several clinical trials strongly supports the idea that type 2 diabetes is preventable in both men and women. In the group assigned to weight loss and exercise, there were 58 percent fewer cases of diabetes after almost three years than in the group assigned to usual care. Even after the program to promote lifestyle changes ended, the benefits continues, and the risk of diabetes was reduced, albeit to a lesser degree, over 10 year period. Quoting the study:
In conclusion, favouring plant and egg products appeared to be beneficial in preventing T2D.
These types of results were also confirmed in a Finnish and Chinese study.
Carbohydrates are foods that have the biggest effect on your blood glucose levels. After you eat carbohydrates, your blood glucose rises almost immediately. Fruit, sweet foods and drinks, starchy foods, such as bread, potatoes and rice, and milk and milk products contain carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are important for health. But when you eat too many at once, your blood glucose can go too high. This is even more likely if you don’t have or take enough insulin for that food. Not all carbohydrates can be broken down and absorbed by your body.
Foods with more non-digestable carbohydrates, or fiber, less processed foods, and nutrient-dense foods are healthier and less likely to increase your blood sugar out of the safe range, according to this Harvard T H Chan School Of Public study. These include foods such as beans, oatmeal, brown rice, non-starchy vegetables, and 100%whole grains. Some carbohydrates may raise blood glucose more than others. These include potatoes, sweets, and white bread.
When it comes to food choices, the trick is balancing the right protein, healthy carbohydrates and unsaturated fats, dietitians say. This combination helps you stay full longer without spiking your blood sugar too high. Balance also means watching both the quality and quantity of what you eat. The American Diabetes Association advocates a plate that is half-filled with non starchy vegetables and fruit, a quarter-filled with protein and a quarter-filled with healthy carbohydrates.
Type 2 Diabetes Foods To Avoid
Saturated Fats. Avoid high-fat dairy products and animal proteins such as butter, fatty beef, and processed meats such as hot dogs, sausage and bacon. Also, limit coconut and palm kernel oils. Unhealthy fats cause a buildup of excess fat in the cells of the body causing insulin resistance. Fat build-up inside muscle, liver, and pancreas cells creates toxic fatty breakdown products and free radicals that ‘block’ the insulin-signaling process, close the ‘glucose gate,’ and make blood sugar levels rise. Saturated fats have been associated with heart disease and diabetes.
Trans Fats. Avoid trans fats found in processed snacks, baked goods, shortening and stick margarine. Trans fats is a strong dietary risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Studies, like this NIH study, have shown even small amounts of trans fats increases risk. Trans fats also reduce insulin sensitivity, leading to higher insulin and glucose levels, and diabetes.
Cholesterol. Cholesterol sources include high-fat dairy products and high-fat animal proteins, egg yolks, liver, and other organ meats. Diabetes is directly negatively affected by high fat-high cholesterol diet. Aim for no more than 200 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol a day.
Sodium. Having diabetes doesn’t mean you have to cut salt and sodium from your diet. However, people with diabetes should cut back on their sodium intake since they are more likely to have high blood pressure, a leading cause of heart disease, than people without diabetes. Aim for less than 2,300 mg of sodium a day. Your doctor may suggest you aim for even less if you have high blood pressure. It is estimated that about 75% or more of the sodium Americans eat is from processed, packaged foods, and that’s why you should avoid these types foods. Many companies are slowly trying to lower the amount of sodium in their products, but there is still much work to be done.
Added Or Hidden Sugars. Since diabetes is characterized by abnormally elevated blood glucose levels, of course, it is wise to avoid foods that cause dangerously high spikes in blood glucose, primarily refined or processed foods, such as sugar-sweetened drinks which are devoid of fiber, to slow the absorption of glucose in the blood. Fruit juices and sugary processed foods and desserts have similar effects. These foods promote hyperglycemia and insulin resistance, and promote the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in the body.
The average American eats 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day, according to the American Heart Association. You’re likely not adding that much sugar to food yourself, so could you really be eating that much? Well, yes, says Erin Gager, R.D., L.D.N., a dietitian at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, because sugar is in a lot more foods than you may think. To identify hidden sugars look for ingredients on food labels with words that end in “ose”, like fructose, sucrose, maltose, dextrose. Other examples of added sugar include fruit nectar, concentrates of juices, honey, agave and molasses.
Refined Carbohydrates. Processed carbs like white rice, white pasta, and white bread are missing the fiber from the original grain, so they raise blood glucose higher and faster than their intact, unprocessed counterparts. In a six-year study of 65,000 women, those with diets high in refined carbohydrates from white bread, white rice, and pasta were 2.5 times as likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes compared to those who ate lower-glycemic-load foods, such as intact whole grains and whole wheat bread. An analysis of four prospective studies on white rice consumption and diabetes found that each daily serving of white rice increased the risk of diabetes by 11%.
Fried Foods. Overdoing it on greasy, fried foods can lead to weight gain and wreak havoc on your blood sugar. French fries, potato chips, and doughnuts are particularly bad choices for diabetics because they’re made with carb-heavy, starchy ingredients, which can cause blood glucose levels to shoot up. And, most likely laden with unhealthy trans fats also, because they’ve been deep-fried in hydrogenated oils.
Caged Eggs. Truth be told, the research has been totally confusing about eggs and diabetes. While a few studies have suggested that dietary cholesterol might increase the risk for diabetes, others show that eating eggs actually improves sensitivity to insulin, which protects against diabetes. It doesn’t have to be confusing. Improving insulin sensitivity is more likely the truer picture, unless you’re eating “caged” or housed white eggs, which are depleted of healthy polyunsaturated fats like omega 3 fatty acids, and higher in saturated omega 6 fatty acids. Caged eggs containing more Omega 6s than omega 3s, will increase weight gain and cholesterol.
Processed Meats. Processed red meat is especially bad for your health. It is believed that the preservatives, additives and chemicals such as nitrites, nitrates, and sodium, that are added to the meat during manufacturing can harm your pancreas which is the organ that produces insulin, and increase insulin resistance. In one study, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) have found that eating processed meat, was associated with a 42% higher risk of heart disease and a 19% higher risk of type 2 diabetes. Processed meat was defined as any meat preserved by smoking, curing or salting, or with the addition of chemical preservatives; examples include bacon, salami, sausages, hot dogs or processed deli or luncheon meats. The American Diabetes Association in this study said the following:
Our data indicate that higher consumption of total red meat, especially various processed meats, may increase risk of developing type 2 diabetes in women.
In contrast, the researchers did not find any higher risk of heart disease or diabetes among individuals eating unprocessed red meat, such as from beef, pork, or lamb. This work is the first systematic review and meta-analysis of the worldwide evidence for how eating unprocessed red meat and processed meat relates to risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. The researchers defined unprocessed red meat as any unprocessed meat from beef, lamb or pork, excluding poultry, but didn’t distinguish between the meats or their origin. This leads us to the next category, fatty, or saturated fats, red meats.
Corn-Fed Feedlot Meats. Industrial factory-farmed livestock (feedlots or housed) has been forced, trained, genetically engineered, or whatever euphemism the industry chooses to use, to feast on corn, soy and other grains, in addition to a repulsive mixture of other chemicals, hormones, antibiotics and liquid-solutions. These food animals include cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens, turkeys, and ducks.
Nutritionally deprived of healthy, polyunsaturated omega 3 fatty acids, which could only be gotten from eating natural grass, these food animals are also forced to live in crowded feedlots, in unsanitary conditions, stressing the animals out, causing them to be unhealthy and less resistant to infections and the spread of disease. Although feedlot animal meats do contain some omega 6s, there’s not any healthy balance of omega 3s to 6s, because omega 3s are non-existent, making the meats less lean, causing weight gain (belly fat), inflammation, and insulin resistant. And, because of these unsanitary conditions, are routinely given antibiotics, which causes the development antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the meats, as well.
According to this Mayo Clinic study on Grass-Fed beef, you should NOT be eating corn or grain-fed meats, but should be eating grass-fed meats Enough said.
Housed Dairy Cattle Products. The same applies to dairy cows. Most milk sold in America today comes from cows that have been fed corn or grains. It cheaply fattens the animals up, but because cows’ multi-compartmented stomachs can’t properly digest corn, it also makes them more susceptible to E. coli, a pathogenic bacteria that can spread to humans. Milk from conventionally raised dairy cows are higher in inflammation-causing omega 6 fatty acids and lower in healthy inflammation-fighting omega 3 fatty acids. Milk from housed-dairy cattle are also lower in beta carotene and other essential vitamins and minerals.
In this study, the Diabetes Council had this to say about the best form of milk to drink for diabetes:
choose full-fat milks that come from grass-fed animals (so you don’t get a not-so-nice dose of antibiotics and hormones in your milk) and that are preferably raw (unpasteurized). The next best choice would be full-fat, grass-fed milk.
It’s simple, if it doesn’t say organic grass-fed on the label, don’t buy it.
Farmed-Raised Wild Fish and Seafood. In people with diabetes, inflammation-reducing omega-3s can lower the risk of heart disease, raise HDL good cholesterol, and improve triglyceride levels, and prevent diabetes. Research has proven time again that omega 3s reduce inflammation, they also may play a role in lowering the risk of arthritis, cancer, and chronic diseases. Farmed fish are raised in controlled conditions, in pens with water and other fish, and fed pellets of food, and thus, void of healthy polyunsaturated omega 3s, and higher in less-healthy inflammation-causing omega 6s. The result of eating omega 6s is weight gain usually around the stomach area, high inflammation, and insulin resistance. Research done by Cleveland Clinic confirms eating farm-raised wild fish is not as safe, or healthy, as eating natural, wild-caught fish.
The American diet already contain high amounts of omega 6s from many food sources, so there’s really no advantage to eating farm-raised fish. What the American diet is missing is healthy omega 3s, which farm-raised fish are deficient in. Farm-raised fish may have as much as 20% less protein compared to wild fish, as well. Studies have also shown that farmed fish have 10 times the amount of PCBs (poly chlorinated biphenyls, a toxic chemical) and dioxin that wild fish do, plus other contaminants. Then you have the problem of crowded conditions in which farm raised fish are raised, they are routinely treated with antibiotics to help prevent infection, and, again, as in feedlot meats, the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Types Of Foods to Eat For Diabetes
Briefly, the types of healthy nutrient-dense foods you should be eating, are the exact opposite of the foods we’ve listed in the Type 2 Diabetes Foods To Avoid category above. These nutrient-dense foods containing omega 3s, essential amino acids, anti-inflammatories, vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants, include:
Certified Organic Grass-Fed Finished Meats, such as beef, bison, and wild game.
Certified Organic Free-Range Finished Meats, such lamb and pork.
Certified Organic Free-Range Finished Poultry, such as chicken (2), turkey and duck.
Certified Organic Grass-Fed Finished Dairy, (1)such as milk, butter and cheese.
Certified Organic Cage-Free Brown Eggs. See Penn State research.
Wild-Caught Fish and Seafood, such as salmon, halibut, tuna, sturgeon
Fresh Certified Organic Nuts and Seeds
Polyunsaturated Vegetable Oil, such as extra virgin olive oil
No-Sugar Drinks, such as water, infused water (made with fruit), 100% juice no sugar, low-fat 1% milk, coffee, green, black or herbal tea, recommended by the American Diabetes Association. Natural fruit smoothies such as blueberry Maca smoothie is another great choice.
All the foods items recommended above are the main ingredients of the Mediterranean Diet. According to the NIH, the Mediterranean Diet serves as a model for healthy functional foods capable of managing diabetes……
may be associated with enhanced anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, insulin sensitivity, and anti-cholesterol functions, which are considered integral to prevent and manage T2DM.
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