Type 2 diabetes is a widespread epidemic in the United States. According to the American Diabetes Association, it’s the most common form of the disease, affecting more than 9.4 percent of the entire population. If you have Type 2 diabetes, you have a problem using insulin or the hormone produced by your pancreas which regulates the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood. With a lack of insulin, your body struggles to keep your blood sugar levels normal.
So, if you’re at risk for Type 2, avoiding sugar can seem obvious. But what other foods could increase your risk?
The truth is, trans fats should be avoided by everyone—but this is particularly true for those at risk for diabetes. They’re found in many processed foods and packaged dinners included to help extend shelf life. Studies have linked them to an increase in inflammation and belly fat, and a higher resistance to insulin. They also might lead to impaired arterial function, t raising your risk of developing heart disease. Make sure you check the ingredients list for the processed products you buy.
If you have Type 2 diabetes, be mindful of the number of carbs you consume. Cereals, even those deemed “healthy,” have a lot more carbohydrates than healthier breakfast alternatives. They’re also significantly lower in protein, which helps keep you full and your blood sugar levels stable. Instead of reaching for a bowl of cereal in the morning, opt for a more balanced breakfast – one higher in protein and lower in carbs.
Fruit juices, while healthy in moderation, pack in a lot of sugar. On average, one 12-ounce glass of orange juice contains 33 grams of sugar… and that’s without any added sugar. To put that into perspective, one 12-ounce glass of Coca-Cola contains 39 grams. If you’re at risk for diabetes, water or sugar-free beverages are the best way to go.
Unfortunately, sugar has a way of sneaking into pretty much everything — and that includes coffee. While black coffee can actually be quite healthy (one study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine suggests that it might even lower your risk of diabetes), flavored coffee drinks are often loaded with sugar and calories. If you don’t like the taste of black coffee, try adding a tablespoon of half & half.
Sugar is sugar, and that goes for natural sweeteners like honey, too. Though unprocessed, honey is still heavy in carbohydrates. One tablespoon of honey, for example, contains 17 grams of sugar. In comparison, one tablespoon of white table sugar contains 12.6 grams. Instead of squeezing honey into your tea, try adding a low-carb sweetener, like Stevia or monk fruit extract.