One of the first things we like to do in naturopathic medicine is remove any obstacles to cure.
If you’re constantly putting processed, sugary foods into your body at every meal, then this is definitely an obstacle. Especially if you have type 1 diabetes.
You’ll want to know which foods are the worst for type 1 diabetes so that you can avoid them in your diet. So here they are, the worst of the worst.
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10 worst foods for type 1 diabetes
1. Trans fats
Trans fats do not directly raise blood glucose levels. However, they have been linked to higher inflammation, insulin resistance, and belly fat.
Trans saturated fats are a type of dietary fat also associated with impaired arterial function and lower levels of high-density lipoproteins (good cholesterol).
Scientists say they need to do more research to understand the link between trans fats and insulin sensitivity. However, the risks above are concerning for patients with diabetes since they are at a higher risk of heart disease.
2. Refined flours
Refined flour foods include white bread, bagels, and pasta. These foods lead to high blood sugar levels in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
One study found that high carbohydrate foods raise blood sugar. They also found that these foods decrease brain function in people with type 2 diabetes.
Refined flours don’t have much fiber. Fiber is important because it helps slow the absorption of sugar in your bloodstream.
3. Flavored yogurt
Flavored yogurts are usually made from non-fat or low-fat milk and are full of carbs and sugar. One serving of flavored yogurt has almost 31 grams of sugar! This means that almost 61 percent of yogurt’s calories are from sugar.
Sweetened cereals are more dessert than they are breakfast. They are highly processed and high in carbs.
They are also low in protein. Protein foods help maintain satiation while stabilizing your blood sugar.
5. Honey, agave, and maple syrup
All three of these natural sweeteners can cause spikes in blood sugar. No, they are not as processed as white sugar or artificial sweeteners. But they do have as many carbs, if not more!
One study found that people with prediabetes had similar boosts in blood sugar whether they ate 50 grams of white sugar or honey. They also had the same effects on insulin dose and inflammation markers.
6. Dried fruit
When we dry fruit out, the process of removing water results in a higher sugar concentration. For example, raisins have at least four times more carbs than grapes. The same is true of other dried fruits in comparison to their fresh fruit counterparts.
7. Processed snack foods
Packaged snack foods are usually made with refined flour. They don’t typically have much in the way of nutrients, either.
But what they do contain is glycemic load and glycemic index. These boost blood sugar quickly. Some snack foods even have more carbs than what it says on their nutrition label!
8. Fruit juice
Okay, okay, you caught us. This one isn’t technically food. But it’s important to mention.
The effects of fruit juice on blood sugar are similar to pop and other sugar-laden drinks. This is true of juices with added sugar, but it also includes unsweetened 100 percent fruit juices. Some fruit juices are even higher in sugar than soda!
9. French fries
As most people who do carbohydrate counting know, potatoes are high in carbs. One medium potato has 34.8 grams of carbs. Only 2.4 grams of these are fiber.
The thing about potatoes is that they are also deep-fried. Deep frying foods can produce high amounts of toxic compounds.
These include aldehydes and advanced glycation end products (called AGEs for short). These compounds lead to inflammation. They also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease even further.
10. Flavored coffee drinks
Another liquid makes this list. But it’s for a good reason. Studies show that your brain does not process solid and liquid foods in the same way.
When you get your energy intake from drinks, you don’t eat less later to make up for it. This can lead to weight gain. If you aim for weight loss, be sure not to drink your calories.
If you have type 1 (requiring insulin injections), type 2, or even gestational diabetes, keep in mind that you’ll want to keep your refined carbohydrate intake to a minimum.
But it’s also important to consider the fiber content of the food and how the food is prepared too. Avoid deep-fried foods. Make sure you have enough fiber and not too many calories.
This is important not only for diabetes itself, but also to lower your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and kidney disease.
If you have type 1 diabetes, speak to your health care provider about your diet and a meal plan today. They can help you with counting carbohydrates. They should also help you make sure you are consuming a low carbohydrate diet with low GI foods that are also high in nonstarchy vegetables.
Never underestimate the importance of healthy eating and medical nutrition therapy. You may also want to consider intermittent fasting. Ask your health care provider about other ways to help keep low hemoglobin a1c and blood sugar levels, such as physical activity.