Foods And Drinks To Avoid With Diabetes
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Diabetes is a chronic disease that has reached epidemic proportions among adults and children worldwide (
Uncontrolled diabetes has many serious consequences, including heart disease, kidney disease, blindness, and other complications.
Prediabetes has also been linked to these conditions .
Importantly, eating certain foods can raise your blood sugar and insulin levels and promote inflammation, which may increase your risk of disease.
This article lists 11 foods and drinks that people with diabetes or prediabetes should avoid.
Why Does Carb Intake Matter For People With Diabetes
Carbs, protein, and fat are the macronutrients that provide your body with energy.
Among them, carbs have the greatest effect on your blood sugar by far. This is because theyre broken down into sugar, or glucose, and absorbed into your bloodstream.
Carbs include starches, sugar, and fiber. However, fiber isnt digested and instead absorbed by your body in the same way other carbs are, so it doesnt raise your blood sugar.
Subtracting fiber from the total carbs in a portion of food will give you its digestible or net carb content. For instance, if a cup of mixed vegetables contains 10 grams of carbs and 4 grams of fiber, its net carb count is 6 grams.
When people with diabetes consume too many carbs at a time, their blood sugar levels can rise to dangerously high levels.
Over time, high levels can damage your bodys nerves and blood vessels, which may set the stage for heart disease, kidney disease, and other serious health conditions.
Maintaining a low carb intake can help prevent blood sugar spikes and greatly reduce the risk of diabetes complications.
Therefore, its important to avoid the foods and drinks listed below.
Sugary beverages are the worst drink choice for someone with diabetes.
First, theyre very high in carbs, with a 12-ounce can of cola providing 38.5 grams .
The same amount of sweetened iced tea and lemonade each contain almost 45 grams of carbs exclusively from sugar .
Artificial trans fats are extremely unhealthy.
There Are A Few Ways To Treat Type 1 Diabetes:
- Monitor your blood sugar. Living with diabetes means getting familiar with healthy blood sugar levels and checking yours regularly. Depending on your health care providers specific recommendation, you might need to check it four to ten times daily. Youll use a small blood sugar meter called a glucometer to measure glucose levels in a pin-prick of blood on a disposable test strip. Another option is to have a continuous glucose monitor, which automatically measures your blood sugar every few minutes using a sensor inserted underneath the skin.
- Take insulin. Because your body doesnt produce it on its own, youll have to get it another way. There are a few methods for taking insulin, including regular injections or a wearable insulin pump, which delivers small, steady doses of fast-acting insulin throughout the day through a thin tube. Though its certainly not the most convenient lifestyle, it often becomes second nature for people living with type 1 diabetes.
- Maintain a balanced diet. You dont have to be extremely restrictive, but carbohydrates are the foods youll want to watch, making sure to eat them consistently but not go overboard. If youre taking a fixed amount of insulin, keeping your carbohydrate intake consistent to match is important.
- Exercise. Staying active is always an important component of health, but for people with type 1 diabetes, it can help keep blood sugar levels in check and cause your body to use the insulin more efficiently.
Recommended Reading: Alternative Medicine For Diabetes Type 1
Type 2 Diabetes Christmas And Alcohol
There is usually an abundance of alcohol at Christmas celebrations, and everyone should be wary not to succeed the recommended limit of 14 units per week. If you have type 2 diabetes, you can usually enjoy drinking in moderation however, you need to be extra cautious.
If you treat your diabetes with medications such as insulin or sulfonylureas, you’ll be aware that alcohol interferes with your blood glucose levels and can make you more likely to have a ‘hypo’ when your blood glucose drops too low. Alcohol reduces your liver’s ability to store glucose, halting recovery when your blood glucose is dropping.
If you enjoy a drink at Christmas, opt for drinks that have lower sugar levels. Alcoholic drinks with high sugar content include:
- Liqueurs .
- Cocktails made with fruit juice.
- Sweet wines.
- Sugary spirit mixers such as fizzy drinks.
- Beers, ales, and ciders .
Diabetes UK advises caution with low-sugar beers and cider – sometimes called ‘diabetic drinks’. While they have less sugar, there’s often a higher alcohol content. On the other hand, low-alcohol wines often have more sugar and should also be consumed with caution.
If you do enjoy a drink during the festive season, you can better manage your blood glucose by following these recommendations:
Impact Of Type 2 Diabetes
As stated above, type 2 diabetes can lead to a greater chance of health problems which could in some cases affect your ability to work and could therefore affect your personal income.
Another factor to bear in mind is that increased care may be needed, from your family or from a carer, particularly as you get older.
With the right support and good diabetes management, the potential negative effects of type 2 diabetes can be minimised.
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Risk Factors For Type 2 Diabetes
There is no single cause of type 2 diabetes but some factors can put you at greater risk. They include:
- being age 40 or over
- being overweight
- having a family member who has diabetes
- having had gestational diabetes
- having given birth to a baby that weighed more than 4 kg at birth
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol or other fats in the blood or
- member of a high-risk ethnic group.
Treatment For Low Blood Glucose
If you have type 2 diabetes that’s controlled using insulin or certain types of tablets , you may experience episodes of hypoglycaemia.
Hypoglycaemia is where your blood glucose levels become very low.
Mild hypoglycaemia can make you feel shaky, weak and hungry, but it can usually be controlled by eating or drinking something sugary.
If you have a hypo, you should initially have a form of carbohydrate that will act quickly, such as a sugary drink or glucose tablets.
This should be followed by a longer-acting carbohydrate, such as a cereal bar, sandwich or piece of fruit.
In most cases, these measures will be enough to raise your blood glucose level to normal. You should aim for a hypo to be treated and to recheck your blood glucose level within 15 minutes.
If blood glucose still less than 4mmol/l then repeat the treatment using a fast acting carbohydrate. When your blood glucose returns to normal then have your longer acting carbohydrate.
If you develop severe hypoglycaemia, you may become drowsy and confused, and you may even lose consciousness.
If this occurs, you may need to have an injection of glucagon into your muscle or glucose into a vein. Glucagon is a hormone that quickly increases your blood glucose levels.
You may require input from a health care professional. If the glucagon is not successful, you may require an injection of dextrose into your vein.
Your diabetes care team can advise you on how to avoid a hypo and what to do if you have one.
Read Also: Can You Get Rid Of Diabetes Type 1
Is There An Age Where Im More At Risk Of Type 2
Type 2 diabetes used to be known as adult-onset diabetes as it was primarily seen in middle-aged adults over the age of 40.
However, in recent years, cases of type 2 diabetes have become more common in young adults, teens and children. This increase has been connected to climbing levels of obesity
- See our guide on diabetes risk factors for more information.
When To See A Healthcare Provider
The symptoms of type 2 diabetes may occur gradually, but they should not be ignored. If you begin to notice any of them, make an appointment with your primary care provider as soon as possible.
If you’re diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, they can connect you with a certified diabetes educator and provide guidance for receiving diabetes self-management education. You also can get this help from the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists. These services often are covered by insurance check your provider for details about your plan.
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Medicines For Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition and usually gets worse over time. Making lifestyle changes, such as adjusting your diet and taking more exercise, may help you control your blood glucose levels at first, but may not be enough in the long term.
You may eventually need to take medication to help control your blood glucose levels.
Initially, this will usually be in the form of tablets and can sometimes be a combination of more than one type of tablet. It may also include insulin or another medication that you inject.
Heres How You Can Get Started:
- Work with your doctor to determine what level of physical activity you should engage in
- Figure out how much time per day you can devote to exercise
- Set fitness goalshaving clear goals can help you stay motivated
- Consider where youll start working outthe gym, in your neighborhood, in a park?
- Build different activities into your daily routine
- Start slowly and allow for recovery time
- Keep track of what you do and stay focused on your goals
- Listen to your body
Also Check: What Are The Symptoms Of A Diabetic Foot
The Nhs And Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is already one of the most common long term health conditions and the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in the UK is growing year on year.
The cost of treating a growing number of people with type 2 diabetes, and the health complications associated with the condition, is estimated to cost the NHS around £12 billion a year on direct and indirect care.
Is Type 2 Diabetes Increasing
Type 2 diabetes is increasing at an epidemic rate, and is being diagnosed at younger and younger ages. The most likely reason for this increase is that individuals with a genetic susceptibility to type 2 diabetes are developing the disease due to lifestyle changes namely less physical activity, weight gain, and longer life span.
The good news is that scientific research confirms that by eating healthy foods, exercising regularly and maintaining an ideal body weight, you can delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Also Check: How To Cure Early Signs Of Diabetes
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
You’ll be given a special sweetened drink prior to this blood test. A test result of 11.1 mmol/L or greater taken two hours after having the sweet drink indicates diabetes.
A second test must be done in all cases . Once diabetes has been diagnosed, ask your doctor to refer you for diabetes education. Diabetes Canada also has many resources to help you understand diabetes better and live a long and healthy life. Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and managing the disease is not easy. But it is important to know that you can live a long and healthy life by taking a number of steps including keeping your blood sugar levels in target range.
Can Type 2 Diabetes Be Prevented
You can take steps to help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by losing weight if you are overweight, eating fewer calories, and being more physically active. If you have a condition which raises your risk for type 2 diabetes, managing that condition may lower your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
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What Is Considered Life
The activities required to maintain diabetes fall under life-sustaining therapy. However, to be found eligible for the DTC for diabetes, you must spend more than 14 hours a week maintaining or treating your diabetes. Some activities that fall under life-sustaining therapy are:
- Insulin therapy
- Purchasing medication
Diagnosing Type 1 Diabetes
To diagnose type 1 diabetes youll need to get blood tests done, one of which is called an A1C screening. A1C screenings measure your blood sugar levels from the past two to three months and can be used to diagnose type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. Life Line Screening also offers an A1C screening from the privacy of you own home through our home tests. You can learn more here.
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Favorite Alternative Medicine Resource
Want to give the ketogenic diet a whirl to better manage diabetes? This pioneering program from the Cleveland Clinic offers a way to do just that, with trained counselors who can help you adjust your diet and medication along the way.
The FOMO on diabetes products ends now. This feature by the magazine and website Diabetes Forecast rounds up the best of the best in CGMs , glucagon kits, insulin pens, and more.
When It Becomes An Emergency:
Theres a complication of type 1 diabetes called diabetic ketoacidosis , which results from very high blood sugar and is serious and life-threatening. With DKA, the cells in the body are starved for energy, so they start breaking down fat, producing toxic acids known as ketones. So if you or someone you love experiences these symptoms on top of diabetes symptoms, its time to go to the ER:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Tingling or numbness of the lips, tongue or cheek
Read Also: Medical Management Of Diabetes Mellitus
Medications For Type 2 Diabetes
In some cases, lifestyle changes are enough to keep type 2 diabetes under control. If not, there are several medications that may help. Some of these medications include:
- Metformin.This can lower your blood glucose levels and improve how your body responds to insulin. Its the first-line treatment for most people with type 2 diabetes.
- Sulfonylureas. These are oral medications that help your body make more insulin.
- Meglitinides. These are fast-acting, short-duration medications that stimulate your pancreas to release more insulin.
- Thiazolidinediones. These make your body more sensitive to insulin.
- Dipeptidyl peptidase 4 inhibitors. These are milder medications that help reduce blood glucose levels.
- Glucagon-like peptide-1 agonists. These slow digestion and improve blood glucose levels.
- Sodium-glucose Cotransporter-2 Inhibitors. These help your kidneys remove sugar in your body through urine.
Each type of medication listed above can cause side effects. It may take some time for you and your doctor to find the best medication or combination of medications to treat your diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes In Children
One 2016 study found that the incidence of type 2 diabetes in youth has increased to about 5,000 new cases per year. Another study from 2017 also showed a significant increase, particularly in minority races and ethnic groups.
If your child has been diagnosed with diabetes, their doctor will need to determine if its type 1 or type 2 before suggesting a specific treatment.
In the same way that lifestyle choices can help adults manage or even reverse their type 2 diabetes diagnosis, you can help lower your childs risk by encouraging them to eat well and to be physically active every day.
report the following statistics about diabetes in the United States:
- Over 30 million people have diabetes. Thats around 10 percent of the population.
- 1 in 4 people has no idea they have diabetes.
- Prediabetes affects 84.1 million adults, and 90 percent of them are unaware of it.
- Non-Hispanic Black, Hispanic, and Native American adults are to have diabetes as non-Hispanic white adults.
The ADA reports the following statistics:
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Cholesterol Intake Does Not Equal Higher Blood Cholesterol
Yes, eggs do contain cholesterol but cholesterol in foods does not automatically equate to more cholesterol in your body.
You see, your liver produces most of your bodys cholesterol internally. And by nature of the way your metabolism functions, things like sugar, which is partfructose, promotes more cholesterol production that an egg. Carbohydrate foods also promote greater production of cholesterol.
MYTH BUSTER: Cholesterol in foods does not equal higher cholesterol levels.
Studies have shown egg consumption actually improves cholesterol levels . And most importantly, they improve HDL good cholesterol meaning they improve your heart health, and therefore, are a good quality, nutritious food to eat!
Youll also be surprised to learn that a few years ago, the American Dietary Guidelines Committee had to finally admit they made one of the BIGGEST nutritional health blunders in history they had to remove the concern about cholesterol from the dietary guidelines!
Heres their statement:
Cholesterol. Previously, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended that cholesterol intake be limited to no more than 300 mg/day. The 2015 DGAC will not bring forward this recommendation, because available evidence shows no appreciable relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol Cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.