Developing Type II Diabetes can seem like a death sentence to most, especially those who (likely) are used to consuming whatever they want, whenever they want, and in whatever in quantity. Your body doesn't work like that no matter how many times your brain will try to convince it otherwise. Below are some obvious and not-so-obvious foods to avoid when you have been diagnosed with diabetes, are pre-diabetic, or are looking to cut carbs and excess sugars in your diet.
1. Sugar – Seems like a no-brainer right ? You'd be surprised how many people just cut out the white stuff in their morning coffee, but don't hesitate to wolf down doughnuts, candy bars and other sugar-laden foods that can spell a cellular death sentence for your average diabetic. Keep an eye on any and all packages for the following ways that sugar is disguised in the ingredients and avoid wherever possible: caramel, corn syrup, fructose, glucose, glucose solids, high-fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin, sucrose, and maltose (to name a few). Safe sweeteners for the diabetic are as follows : abstinence (just don't touch the sweet stuff!), xylitol, and stevia.
2. White Rice – This one might surprise you, but that beef rice bowl you just ordered is actually just a puddle of sugar with sugary beef on top. White rice has had all of the natural fibers removed and so there is nothing left in the final food product to slow its breakdown into sugar, or its release into the blood stream, or the corresponding upregulation of insulin. Instead of thinking of the white fluffy stuff as a side dish, imagine yourself grabbing a sack of white sugar and jamming spoonfuls of it in your mouth. Not what you had in mind ? Opt for whole grains like brown rice, millet and quinoa instead !
[Note: White rice is not sugar, but is broken down into sugar very quickly in your system.]
3. White Bread – See: white rice, but instead of tiny, deceiving white grains, that sandwich you're having is actually turkey and mayo wrapped in soft, gluten-y sugar bricks. Once again, go for whole grain, multi-grain varieties that have added fiber such as flaxseeds. The same exact concept should be applied to any and all commerical pastas. Be wary of gluten free products that seem healthier but are actually just made from refined white rice flours and can spike insulin levels all the same.
4. French Fries – These starchy vegetables that have been deep-fried in saturated fats couldn't be further from resembling food than if they were grown in a lab and painted brown. In addition to spiking your bloodsugar, the transfats supplied in french fries dramatically add to your free radical load, and create havoc with countless aspects of your health.
5. Baked goods – See: sugar. These store-bought culprits are filled with diabetic-coma inducing ingredients and should be avoided at all costs. Yes, that means your cookies, cakes, pies, bundts, wafers, croissants and so forth. Go for easy-to-make homemade recipes that are low-glycemic and impart health benefits on you while still tasting delicious. See below for our protein bar recipe.
6. Soft Drinks and Fruit Juices – I know, the latter option might surprise you because fruit is supposed to be healthy right ? Check your labels. Most fruit juices are cut with water and have added sugars. Oh, and they are completely devoid of natural fibers, in addition to being pasteurized, which reduces any vitamin content. Recently, even the natural fruit sugar (fructose) in in unsweetened juices is being shown to place a load on the liver and be metabolized directly into fat. Go for the whole fruit instead and avoid the high glycemic ones like overripe bananas, pineapple and other tropicals. Soft drinks are a no-brainer. In addition to being full of high-fructose corn syrup and flame retardant materials, they impart no health benefits whatsoever and should not be consumed. If you need something delicious, make a big pitcher of fresh-squeezed lemonade sweetened with xylitol. Delish and stimulates lympathic drainage, just be sure to go easy on the xylitol as it can increase bowel activity.
7. Vitamin Waters – see: Soft Drinks and Fruit Juices. Giving you the illusion of health and vitamins, these water beverages have exploded on the market and expanded waistlines as a result with their hidden sugary ingredients. Make your own vitamin water by peeling and slicing some cantaloupe and adding to a cool pitcher of clean water in the fridge. Voila ! Delicious !
8. Store-bought Smoothies – see Vitamin Waters. Think you're doing yourself a health favour by buying a bathtub-sized smoothie from your local blender bar? Chances are you have a styrofoam cup (which never decomposes!) full of excess carbohydrates and no healthy protein or fat to slow down the transit time and blunt the release of blood sugar and insulin. Make your own green smoothies in the morning using coconut milk, almond milk, whole cashews, half an avocado, a scoop of your favourite protein and a tbsp of your favourit health food store greens mix. Add flax seed or chia for extra fiber and blood sugar balancing effects.
High Protein Pina Colada Bars
2 cups organic rolled oats
1/2 cup organic quinoa flakes
1/2 cup xylitol syrup (dissolve xylitol in water over low heat for a syrupy consistency)
1 organic egg
3 tbsp crushed pecans
2 tbsp sesame seeds
3 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tbsp ground golden flax
4 scoops Vanilla Whey Protein
1/2 cup dried pineapple
Oven at 325 F, Bake 15 minutes until golden brown.Sprinkle some extra shredded coconut on top too if you want.
Just put it on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Let cool for about 15 min. after they're done! then cut and ENJOY!
This article was written by Nakita Valerio, B.A, CSN, BMSA Technician. She has been working for Optimum Health Vitamins since 2007, during which she has gained a deep appreciation and understanding for the complexities of human nutrtition, and has spent hundreds of hours researching the topic. Her current position is online media assistant - a job she currently enjoys from Morocco!