According to the American Diabetes Association, over 18 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes. As many as 7 million more may be undiagnosed with the disease. An additional 79 million people may be considered as having prediabetes. The ADA estimates that as many as 1 in every 400 children and adolescents has diabetes.
You may not have diabetes yet, but if you are over weight, you are one step closer. And if your daily diet contains one or more of these foods, you are setting yourself up for a diabetes diagnosis. Simple carbohydrates, such as soda, white bread and white rice, break down in the body to sugar. This sugar quickly enters the bloodstream. Eating these foods on a regular basis can lead to insulin resistance, and diabetes.
When the body is insulin resistant, the body’s cells do not respond normally to the insulin produced by the pancreas. Many people with diabetes are prescribed insulin, either because their bodies do not produce insulin (type 1 diabetes) or do not use insulin properly (type 2 diabetes).
Health conscience people avoid these foods for many reasons. They are high in calories, fats, carbs and sugars. Most of them have little or no nutritional value.
White rice and refined white flour
Researchers have found that people who ate five or more servings (1/2 cup) of white rice a week increased their risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Those who replaced at least 1/3 of their white rice servings with brown rice lowered their risk by as much as 16 percent. Brown rice has 3.2 g of fiber in a 1/2 cup serving.
Fiber is not easily digested, and helps keep blood sugar levels stable. Foods made with refined flour such as white bread, pasta, and pre-packaged snacks are quickly digested, and cause your blood sugar to rise immediately. For more on whole grains read, Start your day with hearty whole grains.
Soda, sweet teas and sports drinks
Research has shown that even drinking one or two sugary drinks a day raises the risk for developing type 2 diabetes by 26% over people who drink less than one 12 ounce glass a month. Replacing regular soda or sugary drinks with water is a great way to lower calories, and lose weight while helping to maintain a steady blood sugar level.
Red meat may have nutritional value, but studies show that eating processed meats such as bacon and cold cuts on a daily basis can contribute to developing type 2 diabetes. These are all high in saturated fats. A large study found that people who ate processed meat, a hot dog or sausage or two slices of bacon, once a day more than doubled their risk for diabetes. You can easily lower your risk by substituting one serving of red or processed meats with healthier sources of protein.
Whole milk dairy products
You probably knew that red meat and butter are high in saturated fats. Whole milk dairy products are also loaded with saturated fats. No-fat or 1-percent dairy products have all the benefits of calcium without the calories or the saturated fat content. These include, yogurt, cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese and ice cream.
Fast food and processed snacks
Fast food is high in fat, calories, and salt, all of which can increase your risk for type 2 diabetes. One Canadian study found that eating a fatty fast-food meal increased blood sugar levels by 32 percent in healthy people who didn’t have diabetes. The high amounts of salt in these meals can increase your blood pressure as well. This is especially dangerous for people with diabetes, as they are two to four times more likely to have heart disease than those without diabetes.
Snack foods and commercially-prepared baked goods offer little, if any nutritional value. They tend to be high in trans fats, which raise the bad cholesterol and lower the good cholesterol in your blood. This causes inflammation, which may lead to diabetes. Trans fats can have harmful health effects in even the smallest amounts.
Find some healthy snack options here:
- Pumpkin seeds, nutritious and delicious
- Reasons to eat more apples
- Healthy cookie recipes
- Drinking water daily helps maintain optimum health
- Complex carbohydrates, important in a healthy diet for an active lifestyle