7 Foods to Avoid When You Have Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic illness that affects thousands of adults and children around the world. When uncontrolled, diabetes can have several serious consequences including kidney disease, heart disease, blindness, and other health complications. For people with diabetes, eating certain foods can raise their levels of insulin and blood sugar, increasing their risk of symptoms and complications. Whether you’ve recently been diagnosed with diabetes or are searching for new ways to get it under control, these are some foods and drinks that are best avoided if you have this condition.


White Bread, Pasta and Rice

Bread and other refined-flour food types have been shown to significantly increase the blood sugar levels of people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Gluten-free pasta was also shown to raise blood sugar in one study, with the strongest effect a result of eating rice-based types. Another study found that eating these types of high-carbohydrate foods not only increased blood sugar levels but may also decrease the brain function of some people with type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, replacing these food types with high-fiber alternatives was shown to significantly reduce blood sugar levels.

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Sugary Drinks

Anything with a lot of sugar in it is the worst drink choice for a person with diabetes. They are very high in carbohydrates and packed with fructose, an ingredient with strong links to diabetes and insulin resistance. Studies suggest that consuming sugary drinks may increase the risk of diabetes-related health conditions. To help control your blood sugar levels and reduce your health risk, consider consuming water, sparkling water, or sugar-free cordials and fizzy drinks instead.

Dried Fruit

Fruit is generally considered to be a healthy snack, and it is a great source of several important minerals and vitamins such as potassium and vitamin C. However, while dried fruit may be a tastier and easier way to eat fruit compared to snacking on it raw, the process of drying fruit leads to water loss, which results in a higher concentration of sugar. For example, while 150g of grapes only contains just over 27g of carbs, the same number of raisins contains a huge 115g of carbs.

French Fries

While they make a tasty treat, French fries are a food that you probably want to avoid if you have diabetes. Potatoes are a food that is quite high in carbohydrates, and once they have been peeled, sliced, and fried in vegetable oil, they can have a massive impact on your blood sugar levels. In addition, deep-frying food produces high amounts of toxic compounds which increase the risk of disease and inflammation. Several studies have made a link between frequently consuming fried foods such as French fries to a higher risk of other health conditions including cancer and heart disease. Instead of fries, a small portion of sweet potato fries that are baked or made in an air fryer is a much more diabetes-friendly alternative.

Fruit Juice

While fruit juice may be generally considered to be a healthy drink, you may be surprised to hear that it can have a similar impact on your blood sugar levels as sugary, fizzy drinks. This is true for both 100% unsweetened fruit juice and juices that contain added sugar. Instead of drinking fruit juice, you may want to consider infusing your water with fresh fruit instead.


Sweetened Breakfast Cereals

Cereal is a popular first meal of the day, but it can be one of the worst options for people who have diabetes. Despite the fact that many cereals make a lot of health claims on their boxes, many contain a much higher amount of carbs than you realize and are highly processed. In addition, most breakfast cereals are lacking in protein, an ingredient that will help to stabilize your blood sugar levels throughout the day while helping you feel fuller for longer.

Fatty Meat


Fatty meat is high in saturated fat, which is bad for people with Type 2 diabetes. If you are a diabetic, you are a high risk for heart disease, so saturated and trans fats are best avoided where possible. Instead, shop for lean cuts of meat, such as chicken and turkey breast. Stay away from fatty lamb and other red meat, or ground meat with a lot of fat. It’s also wise to avoid eating too much processed meat products, such as burgers and sausages, as these often have a high fat content.

Not all fat is the enemy; some fats are healthy. Examples of healthy fats include avocado, fish, and nuts.

Flavored Yoghurt


Plain yoghurt can be a good food for people with diabetes to eat, but fruit-flavored yogurts are usually best avoided. They are usually made from low-fat or non-fat milk and contain a lot of sugar and carbs. For example, a 250g serving of fruit-flavored yoghurt may contain around 30g of sugar, with almost 60% of its calorie content coming from sugar alone. Bear this in mind if you consider frozen yogurt to be a healthy alternative to ice cream, as in some cases it can contain just as much or even more sugar.


Sausage gravy is a popular side dish to many meals, including biscuits, a classic Southern dish. However, while gravy might be delicious, it is also packed full of salt and saturated fat, both of which are a big no-no if you have diabetes. Try eating eggs instead for your breakfast, or perhaps a tasty bowl of oatmeal. They are much better for your health.

Living with diabetes means consistently monitoring your diet, avoiding certain foods, and looking for better alternatives that will have a lesser impact on your blood sugar levels. While this can take some getting used to, your health will be much better for avoiding the above foods and drinks.

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