Diabetes is a chronic disease that is incredibly common around the world. If left untreated, this condition can have serious consequences such as heart disease, kidney problems or even mental illnesses like depression. Statistics show that by 2030 98 million people in India will have Type 2 diabetes. Many people who have diabetes are on medication for life as there is no cure for the health condition. Hence, it is more important than ever to be cautious about what we eat to control diabetes.
What should you eat?
When you have diabetes or are at risk of getting diabetes, it is essential to monitor the food you consume, especially when it comes to carbohydrates and certain types of protein. Consumption of too many carbohydrates over time can cause damage to your nerves and blood vessels, setting the stage for more serious health problems. Here are the top foods to avoid if you have diabetes.
It is widely known that excessive sugar is not good for health and when it comes to diabetes, sugar should be avoided at all costs. Diabetes is the result of unnatural levels of glucose in the body, hence any foods that could increase this level should not be consumed. Foods that cause a spike in glucose levels include processed foods and beverages. Sweet, fizzy drinks contain fructose which is insulin resistant and can result in the formation of advanced glycation in the body.
While it is important to avoid carbohydrates to control or reduce your diabetes, you should remain cautious about consuming red meat as well. Type 2 diabetes is caused not just by high glucose levels but also because of alterations of lipids (fats) in the body. Many people who have diabetes assume that they should avoid sugar and processed foods and gravitate towards more high protein foods such as red meat. The theory that red meat is good for people with diabetes is actually a myth as studies have shown that consuming red meat can increase the risk of diabetes by 21%.
Foods such as white rice, white pasta and white bread contain refined carbohydrates. These foods don’t contain the necessary amount of fibre, causing glucose levels in the blood to increase a lot faster than they should. Daily servings of refined carbohydrates are known to increase the risk of diabetes by 11%.
Eggs are a great breakfast food that contains a lot of nutrients, but overconsumption of eggs can increase your risk of getting type 2 diabetes. There has been a lot of debate about the health benefits of eggs as research has shown that people who already have diabetes will increase their risk of heart disease if they consume eggs. But this does not mean that you should cut eggs out of your diet completely because they have numerous health benefits such as Vitamin D and weight management. You should, however, reduce the number of eggs to 1 to 2 per week.
Diabetes is known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease; hence diabetics need to control any foods that increase the risk of heart disease. Trans fat is an ingredient in foods that increases the level of LDL (bad cholesterol) in the system which invariably causes heart problems. Trans fat foods reduce the body’s ability to produce insulin, thereby raising the levels of glucose in the system.
Trans fats can be found in foods such as frozen foods, creamers, margarine and baked goods. Thankfully in recent years many food authorities have regulated the use of trans fats and banned food products that have this ingredient.
Your health is a reflection of the food you consume, and this is especially true for diabetes. Learning how to monitor and control what you eat can prevent or control diabetes. While eliminating these foods from your diet can be challenging at first, you can take baby steps in changing your diet plan for the better. Start by replacing white rice or white pasta with brown or whole wheat options. You should also maintain a healthy lifestyle and stay away from fats, processed foods, sugars and carbs.
Use the foods listed above as a guide to identify what foods you need to eliminate from your diet. A great way to evaluate if you are at risk for diabetes is to get an annual master health checkup. Neuberg Diagnostics is a world-class diagnostics lab that offers numerous preventive health packages to suit your specific needs.