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Reducing Diabetic Complications: Foods to Avoid

Diabetes is a chronic condition that interferes with how your body turns food into energy. Normally, food is broken down into sugar, or glucose. This alerts your pancreas to release insulin, which is needed to let the blood sugar into the body’s cells to be used as energy. 

If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t properly use the insulin it makes. This means that blood sugar stays in your bloodstream, wreaking havoc on your health. It can cause heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease, to name a few of the health issues caused by high blood sugar. 

There is no cure for diabetes, but you can keep it in check by losing weight, being active, and eating -- and avoiding -- certain foods. Read on to find out which foods you shouldn’t consume if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes and uncover one surprising all-natural treatment. 

Why Are Carbohydrates Bad For Diabetics?

The health condition of diabetes has become a massive epidemic, affecting 37 million Americans while pre-diabetes affects a whopping 96 million US adults, according to the CDC. Additionally, one in five people don’t even know they have diabetes, making the disease a ticking time bomb. 

Eating certain foods can affect your blood sugar and insulin levels, causing inflammation and increasing your risks. Carbohydrates in particular can create issues with your blood sugar, because they are broken down into glucose before being absorbed into your bloodstream. Even though fiber is a carbohydrate, it does not affect your body in the same way that sugar and starches do.

Consuming high levels of carbohydrates can raise your blood sugar levels, which over time can damage your nerves and blood vessels. Eventually, you’ll find yourself dealing with serious health conditions like heart disease and kidney disease. 

Which Foods Should Diabetics Avoid?

Below are foods that diabetics should avoid to prevent spikes in their blood sugar levels and long-term health issues that are known complications of diabetes. 

Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

As mentioned, sugar is bad for diabetics, so drinking sugar-sweetened beverages is asking for trouble. Not only are these drinks high in carbs, they are also loaded with fructose. 

Fructose is linked to insulin resistance and diabetes with an increased chance of diabetes-related conditions like fatty liver. These drinks can also increase the potential for obesity. Fructose may lead to metabolic changes in the body, promoting belly fat and high triglyceride levels. 

Instead, consume water, club soda, or unsweetened or zero-sugar beverages. 

Artificial Trans Fats

Trans fats are found in margarine, peanut butter, spreads, creamers, and frozen dinners. They are sometimes added to crackers, muffins, and baked goods to extend the item’s shelf life. Trans fats are extremely unhealthy, especially for diabetics. 

These foods won’t increase your blood sugar levels, which leads to a false sense of being acceptable food choices. However, they’ve been linked to an increase in inflammation, insulin resistance, and belly fat. Additionally, they have lower levels of good cholesterol and cause impaired arterial function. 

Avoid foods that contain the words “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredients list.

White Bread, Rice, and Pasta

High carb, processed foods like white bread, rice, and pasta are known to increase blood sugar levels. In fact, products made with refined white flour are not the only products that are bad for diabetics. Gluten-free pastas, particularly those that are rice-based, are shown to raise blood sugar. 

Instead, choose high-fiber, whole foods, which may help slow the absorption of sugar, reduce cholesterol, and lower blood sugar levels in the bloodstream. 

What Else Shouldn’t Diabetics Eat?

There are other foods that can cause issues for diabetics and they should avoid for the benefit of their health. Some of these foods include:

  • Fruit-flavored yogurt - While plain yogurt is a good option, fruit-flavored yogurts are packed with carbs and sugar.

  • Breakfast cereals - Many “healthy” cereals on the market are packed in nutrients and high in fiber, but still contain too many carbs to be healthy for diabetics. Instead, choose a high-protein, low-carb breakfast.

  • Flavored coffee drinks - Coffee itself has health benefits and is linked to a reduced risk of diabetes; however, flavored coffee drinks are more like dessert than coffee and they don’t satisfy your hunger, leading you to consume more calories later.

  • Honey, maple syrup, and other natural sugars - While you may think you’re okay since it’s not a processed sugar, most natural sweeteners contain more carbs than white sugar. Instead, avoid all forms of sugar and use natural low-carb sweeteners instead.

  • Dried fruit - Fresh fruit contains important vitamins and minerals, and while dried fruit does as well, it also contains high levels of sugar. To keep your blood sugar in range, choose low-sugar fruits such as berries or an apple.

  • Packaged snack foods - Packaged snack foods like pretzels and crackers contain fast-digesting carbs that may rapidly raise your blood sugar levels. When you feel like a snack, choose nuts or low-carb vegetables with an ounce of cheese.

  • Fruit juice - Even unsweetened 100% fruit juice has a higher content of carbs and sugar than soda pop and also contains fructose. Instead, opt for water with fresh lemon.

  • French fries - Potatoes themselves are high in carbs, but once peeled and fried in vegetable oil, they become dangerous. Deep-fried foods contain toxic compounds which promote inflammation and can even lead to heart disease and cancer. Instead, choose a serving of sweet potatoes.

What’s the Connection Between Chiropractic and Diabetes?

It’s important to follow a few simple guidelines when it comes to food choices and diabetes. Avoid unhealthy fats, liquid sugars, processed grains, and other foods that contain refined carbs. Monitor your blood sugar levels and avoid foods that cause it to elevate. However, there’s one step more that can help you stay healthy and reduce your risk of future diabetes-related complications.

Research shows a connection between chiropractic and the control of sugar in the body. Nerves from the upper neck or middle back affect the functioning of the pancreas and influence the enzymes needed to digest proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, as well as affecting how insulin is produced. If these nerves become unbalanced, diabetes or hypoglycemia may result. 

A recent study published in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research revealed positive results when chiropractic is used as a treatment for adult onset diabetes. Patients not only can receive spinal manipulation, but also nutritional and exercise guidance. 

If you’re looking for a holistic approach to help reduce your diabetic symptoms, consider exploring chiropractic care. Your initial evaluation will properly lay out a thorough treatment plan that is unique to your situation and condition. To move forward with chiropractic, schedule an appointment online or call us today.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.

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