Below are the 10 foods that can increase your diabetes risk:
1. Saturated fats
Saturated fats increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes more than unsaturated fats. Foods that are high in saturated fats, such as butter, cheese, cream, and processed foods like cakes and biscuits can cause high levels of LDL-cholesterol, which increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases in people with diabetes.
LDL-cholesterol transports from the liver to the cells, and fat build-up inside muscle cells lowers the insulin response to glucose and increases blood sugar levels, increasing the risk of developing diabetes. Foods like butter, coconut oil, palm oil, and cheese have high amounts of saturated fat.
2. Starchy foods
Starchy foods such as white rice, boiled potatoes, and pasta are high in glycemic index. These foods are quickly digested and absorbed, causing a rapid rise in blood sugar levels. The best way to reduce their effect is to replace them with healthier alternatives.
These healthy alternatives contain fiber that is low in the glycemic index. You can replace white rice with brown rice, boiled white potatoes with sweet potatoes, and white pasta with whole wheat pasta or durum wheat pasta. Even though these healthy alternatives provide fiber, you should eat them in moderation.
3. Packaged fruit juices
Packaged fruit juices are high in fructose and low in fiber. It gives a sudden spike in blood sugar and is less nutritious than freshly squeezed juices.
Unfortunately, even the healthiest packaged fruit juice in the market can increase insulin resistance and increase your risk of developing diabetes. In fact, not only packaged fruit juices, even fresh fruit juices are not healthy in comparison to fresh fruits. Most of the fibers, vitamins, and antioxidants are removed while filtering. So, it is best to eat whole fresh fruit instead of fruit juice.
4. Hydrogenated oils
Hydrogenated oils are mainly present in packaged food items such as peanut butter, french fries, margarine, ready-to-use dough, and readymade baked foods. Hydrogenated oils are nothing but healthy vegetable oils that are converted into unhealthier form by the food industry.
Vegetable oils are liquids at room temperature, food manufacturers chemically alter the structure of vegetable oils and turn them into solid or spreadable form by adding hydrogen in them.
As a result, trans fats are formed. Trans fats increase insulin resistance by affecting cell membrane functions and increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. They are a major contributor to heart disease because they are highly inflammatory and can increase your LDL-cholesterol (bad) while lowering your HDL-cholesterol (good).
5. Tobacco use
Tobacco use may fluctuate your glucose levels by altering the way your body uses glucose. Tobacco contains an addictive chemical called nicotine that increases insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes.
Tobacco stimulates the secretion of a steroid hormone called cortisol, which increases the production of glucose by the liver and makes fat and muscle cells resistant to the action of insulin. The more you smoke, the higher your risk of developing diabetes. Smokers have almost double the risk of developing diabetes compared with people who don’t smoke.
Excess alcohol intake increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Alcohol contains a lot of calories, which can make you obese. Obesity increases insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes or can worsen your diabetes condition.
Another disadvantage of drinking alcohol is that it produces a synergic effect and causes hypoglycemia by interacting with some of your prescribed anti-diabetic medicines such as sulfonylureas. Typically, the liver releases stored glucose when blood sugar levels drop, to maintain normal blood glucose, and to prevent hypoglycemia.
But when you drink alcohol, it interferes with the way the liver works and reduces the liver’s ability to recover the dropped blood glucose levels. It results in hypoglycemia.
Soda and sugar-sweetened energy drinks can increase your diabetes risk, and if you already have diabetes, you must totally avoid them. The high sugar content of these drinks causes rapid spikes in blood sugar levels. These sugary drinks contain lots of calories, which can make you obese.
The excess body weight makes your muscles, liver, and fat cells resistant to the insulin’s signals of grabbing glucose out of the bloodstream. The high sugar levels in your blood make your pancreas release more and more insulin to overcome the body’s resistance and to maintain the blood sugar levels normal.
Over time, this affects the pancreas’s ability to make sufficient insulin, and your blood sugar begins to rise, and you develop diabetes.
8. Full fat dairy
Full-fat milk and milk products can increase the levels of cholesterol in the blood and lead to a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases. High-fat content can also lead to insulin resistance.
Avoid eating full-fat milk, butter, full-fat yoghurt, full-fat ice cream, and cheese. Even skimmed milk contains carbohydrates and can affect your blood sugar levels, but you should not completely avoid milk because it contains nutrients, which are a must for your body to function
properly. It is better to remove other high calories and sugary food sources from your diet than milk.
It is crucial to maintain normal blood pressure in diabetes. Salt does not directly affect blood glucose levels, but you should limit your salt consumption for managing diabetes efficiently. Too much salt can raise your blood pressure.
High blood pressure with diabetes increases your risk of cardiovascular diseases. You should maintain your blood pressure less than 130/80 mm Hg. You must limit your table salt consumption to 5g or one teaspoon per day to prevent and control diabetes.
10. Certain drugs
Certain drugs such as corticosteroids and pain-relieving non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are contraindicated in diabetes. Oral Corticosteroids can increase blood glucose levels and cause insulin resistance by reducing the sensitivity of the cells toward insulin.
Corticosteroids can worsen diabetes conditions; this is why people with diabetes, as well as individuals with pre-diabetes, should avoid them.
People with diabetes who are receiving sulfonylureas drugs should avoid taking a high dose of pain-relieving non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen. One of the side effects of sulfonylureas is hypoglycemia which means it lowers blood sugar levels in the normal range.
NSAIDs affect the ion channel functions of beta cells that secrete insulin. When you take NSAIDs together with sulphonylureas, it induces hypoglycemia.
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These are the foods and lifestyle choices that you must avoid or at least limit the consumption to prevent diabetes, but as I said before, just avoiding harmful foods is not enough in managing diabetes. You must eat the right nutrition; in fact, eating foods that naturally prevent and even treat your diabetes is more important than just avoiding harmful foods.
Diabetes-friendly foods not only can help control blood sugar levels, but some of them can even repair beta cells and can increase your insulin sensitivity. With regular consumption of these foods, your body naturally builds a defence system against diabetes, and you control diabetes without medicines or with a reduced dose of your medications.
Now let’s see which are the top 10 best foods that can help you prevent and control diabetes without medicines.