March 13


10 Processed Foods to Avoid and Get Stable Glucose Readings

By Gabriela

March 13, 2024

The fact is that Americans are at the top of the list of all countries when it comes to consuming processed, packaged foods.

Yes, for sure everyone uses the same excuse that processed foods are convenient and affordable. However, bear in mind that these foods also have lots of sugar, fat, and salt.

In case we have diabetes, we know that the things above mentioned are not something that we should have in our diet.

The most common problem is that people get used to processing foods and they become some sort of a habit. Because of this, they are the first thing people reach for when they are hungry.

When it comes to a healthy diet the key is to plan.

According to RD, CDE, Julie Pike, of Research for Diabetes Prevention in Indianapolis at the Indiana University Health, planning is actually among the most crucial skills we need to eat healthily.

We can start by becoming aware of which foods are bad and simply avoiding them.

Foods to Avoid

1. Sugary Cereals

In many households for breakfast, it is a routine to eat cereals that come from bright, colorful boxes. But how good are they?

If we think that the problem with cereals is added sugar, we are right. Added sugar is a problem for people with diabetes.

However, there is more. These cereals lack dietary fiber. It is shown that a diet high in fiber can help manage and also prevent diabetes.

But, do not worry, we do not have to give up this breakfast option if it is our favorite.

All we need to do is buy cereals that contain less than 7 grams of sugar per serving and more than 5 grams or more of fiber.

2. Chicken Nuggets

Chicken nuggets are omnipresent finger foods. They will satisfy our hunger but we need to choose either skinless breast or grilled chicken strips.

It does not matter if we eat them at a restaurant or we buy them ourselves from the freezer at the supermarket, these finger foods are made with a lot of breading.

And that means more carbs, fatter, more salt, and also preservatives.

3. Fast-Food Hamburgers

There was a study made about this fast food. In February 2010 it was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

This study reports that African-American women who consume hamburgers 2 or more times every week are more likely to receive a diagnosis that they have diabetes. Compared to those women who do not consume that many hamburgers.

However, probably a small hamburger is not the cause of this problem. It is more likely that the role here plays the oversized buns, toppings, and patties.

In case we are eating out, there is always a better choice. We can go with the small size of a grilled chicken sandwich that has lots of veggies.

We mentioned that planning is the key. And we can do that even if we eat out. We can research the menu in the restaurants in advance.

We just need to use apps such as HealthlineNutritionix, and MyFitnessPal.

4. White Rice

White rice is a common food in many households because it is easy to prepare and also has a suitable price. However, that does not make it good.

It is produced with refined flour, just like white pasta and white bread.

It offers only a small amount of nutrients, and it raises blood sugar.

If we are rice lovers, there is no need to panic. We can still eat our favorite food and have control over diabetes.

Instead of the usual white rice go with brown or wild rice, quinoa, barley, and bulgur. Or we can go with whole-grain cereals, bread, or pasta.

They might cost more, and we might need more time to prepare the meal, but what we eat will be tastier and healthier.

5. Processed Meats

We might wonder why processed meats are on this list since they do not contain sugar, yes that is true, but they are associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Why? Because processed meats are usually heavy on preservatives, and salt, and are high in fat.

Instead of the usual deli meats, sausages, or lunch meats, opt for a leaner cut of meat which is usually closer to its natural state.

For our lunchbox sandwich, we can use the leftovers from for example roasted chicken. Furthermore, to control type 2 diabetes, we need to find meatless options.

6. French Fries

When it comes to French fries and calories, most people are not aware of the number of calories a small serving contains.

If we eat French fries regularly, that for sure will make the management of our diabetes and our weight more difficult.

French fries are similar to white rice when it comes to the effect they have on our blood sugar levels.

A healthier option is to bake them at home without using oil. Or we can slice sweet potatoes into wedges leave the skin on and then bake them.

We need to avoid the frozen varieties that are usually found in supermarkets because they often contain lots of preservatives.

7. Canned Fruit in Sugary, Heavy Syrup

Consuming more vegetables and fruits is very helpful to feel full and eat healthy at the same time for people that have type 2 diabetes.

In case of a tight budget, we can go for canned products, they taste good and also last longer.

However, reading the label is a must. If we do not pay attention to the label, our fruit will be in sugary, heavy syrup.

And that is not something that we need. We can drain these processed foods or simply rinse the fruit.

However, the best thing we can do is go for canned fruit but in its juice and not in heavy syrup.

8. Foods With Added Sugars

Added sugars are ubiquitous ingredients in processed, packaged foods such as snack cakes and cookies.

The fact is that many foods have added sugars and we might not be aware of them. We need to know that these foods are salad dressings, sweet pickle relish, jellies, ketchup, and jams.

There is a recommended daily amount of added sugars by The American Heart Association. For women is 25 g or 6 tsp. and for men, that amount is 36 g or 9 teaspoons.

We can choose wisely just by reading the labels and looking for added sugars like concentrates of fruit juice, and corn syrup that is high in fructose, molasses, or honey.

Also, WE can try to opt for less sweet foods, and that is how we will help ourselves to manage type 2 diabetes.

9. Potato Chips

Most people who have type 2 diabetes need to watch their weight and avoid fried snacks such as potato chips.

With the consumption of these processed foods, we only add to the intake of preservatives, calories, and salt.

These snakes do not provide much or in some cases any fiber and nutrition which can help us to slow digestion.

Even for snacks, the key is to plan. Every time we want something crunchy have by our side snack baggies of radishes, cut-up carrots, and cucumbers.

Also, we can have a bowl of fruit, somewhere near us every time we feel the need to have a snack that will be the first thing we will see.

Another alternative is to eat veggie sticks like zucchini and celery with some hummus. Bear in mind, there is always a healthy choice when it comes to snacks.

10. Soda

Drinking a lot of soda no matter if it is sugar-free soda or regular soda, relates to a diabetes diagnosis.

To better manage our weight and diabetes we need to try and give up on sugary drinks.

We can still enjoy the tingly sensation that soda gives us, but instead, we can drink sparkling water or club soda and for flavor, we can add lime juice or lemon.

Also, another alternative is to put basil and a few berries inside, which is tasty.

Sources: Everyday HealthHolze Wellness Center


  • Gabriela

    Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Diabetes Health Page, Fitness trainer and instructor has dedicated her career to educating and informing people for over 10 years. As one of the most passionate diabetes advocates, Gabi has worked tirelessly to ensure that those people receive the education and support they need to properly manage their diabetes and achieve their health, fitness and weight loss goals.

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