5 Foods to Avoid for Diabetes

Supriya Lal

2020 Jul 08

3 min read

Added Sugar: A Pro-Inflammatory Culprit

One of the primary culprits to steer clear of is added sugar. While it may seem obvious, distinguishing between different sugars is essential. Instead of completely avoiding sugar altogether, it is crucial to stay away from added sugars found in soft drinks, juices, yogurts, ketchup, and pasta sauces. These added sugars are pro-inflammatory and can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels. Understanding hidden sugars and their sources can also be beneficial.

Processed Carbohydrates: Fiberless and Blood Sugar Spikes

Processed carbohydrates, such as white rice and potato/corn starches, are detrimental to individuals with diabetes. These grains lack complexity and fiber, leading to rapid increases in blood sugar levels. Opting for healthy carbohydrates that are fiber-rich is a wiser choice when managing diabetes. Exploring alternatives to processed carbs can promote stable blood sugar levels and better overall health.

Fried Foods: A Triple Threat

Fried foods, including fast food, should be strictly limited or avoided altogether. High-temperature deep frying with excessive oil and fat poses risks for diabetes, pre-diabetes, and type 2 diabetes. Combining deep-fried treats with added sugars and processed carbs creates a triple threat to blood sugar control. Farewell to tempting favorites like onion rings, french fries, and fried meats, as the excessive fat content disrupts cellular function and interferes with insulin regulation.

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Dairy: Moderation Matters

Navigating the dairy aisle can be tricky for individuals with diabetes. While it is possible to consume dairy products in moderation, it is crucial to opt for options without added sugars and flavors. Low-fat varieties of yogurt, skim milk, and fat-free dairy products are better choices. However, it is important to be mindful of lactose, which can raise blood glucose levels. Moderation and awareness are key when incorporating dairy into a diabetes-friendly diet.

Processed Meat: Inflammation and Carcinogens

Processed meat, categorized as a group 1 carcinogen, should be minimized or eliminated from the diet. Beyond being a potential cancer risk, processed meat also promotes inflammation in the body. Many processed meats, such as hotdogs, canned meat, and lunch meats, are packed with nitrites, preservatives, and low-quality meat. Opting for healthier protein sources like lean cuts of fresh meat, poultry, or plant-based alternatives is a better choice for individuals with diabetes.


While it may initially seem challenging to avoid these foods, managing diabetes effectively is possible with the right knowledge and strategies. By staying informed about the impact of added sugars, processed carbs, fried foods, dairy, and processed meat, individuals with diabetes can make conscious decisions that support their overall health and well-being. Remember, even small dietary changes can have a significant impact on long-term diabetes management. Empower yourself by making healthier choices and taking control of your diabetes journey.

Written by

Supriya Lal

Supriya Lal is a Registered Dietitian based in New York City. She completed her training at Duke University Hospital System and has specific interests in personalised nutrition therapy, nutritional counseling, and sustainability related to food and nutrition. She is currently completing her Master's in Public Health at New York University.

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