9 Best Foods to Eat and Avoid with Diabetes

Dr. Jayesh Pavra

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Jayesh Pavra

General Physician

5 min read


Knowing what foods to avoid with diabetes is important as many of them may be your favorite items. To stay healthy, learn all about the best options when it comes to food for diabetes management.

Key Takeaways

  • Diabetes is a very common disease, and is now considered an endemic
  • You must know what foods to avoid with diabetes to avoid complications
  • Specific diabetic food plans can help you manage the symptoms

Diabetes is a common health issue that affects many people across the world. Both adults and children are prone to it, and it has got the status of an endemic [1]. If left untreated, diabetes leads to severe health conditions such as cardiac ailments, eye health conditions, kidney diseases, and more. It is important to note that diet plays a key role in managing diabetic symptoms. As a consequence, knowing what foods to avoid with diabetes and the best food for diabetes patients are major concerns for many. This includes diabetics and those who are at high risk of getting diabetes.

Read on to know about what foods to avoid with diabetes and lead a healthy life.

1. Sugary Foods 

Most foods with sugar have hardly any nutritional value. They just increase blood glucose levels in your body. Excessive intake of sugar may also lead to obesity, heart conditions, and stroke. Make sure to avoid or limit consumption of sugary foods like cookies, cakes, candies, doughnuts, pizza dough, desserts, croissants, fruity yogurt, as well as syrups, sauces, and condiments with added sugar. From the list of what foods to avoid with diabetes, this is the most crucial set of glucose-boosting foods.

As alternatives to sugary foods, artificial sweeteners are considered diabetic food options, but studies show that they boost your insulin resistance [2]. So, they may not be as safe as you are led to believe. However, more studies are required in this regard to determine their actual role.

2. Processed Foods with High Carbohydrates 

Multiple studies among people suffering from type-1 and type-2 diabetes have shown that consumption of refined flour, such as bread, leads to a major spike in the levels of blood sugar. Research has also shown gluten-free pasta to increase blood sugar levels. It has also been found that high-carb foods can impair brain activity with type-2 diabetes and depression [3]. Due to very little presence of fiber in these foods, absorption of sugar takes a long time.

Additional Read: 6 Sugar-Free Breakfast RecipesDiabetes prevention infographics

3. Trans Fats 

Though consuming trans fats doesn’t increase the levels of your blood sugar, they are associated with:  

  • Insulin resistance 
  • High inflammation 
  • Reduced levels of good cholesterol (HDL) 
  • The affected function of arteries 
  • Belly fat

You can find trans fats in creamers, spreads, peanut butter, and margarine. They may also have their presence in baked foods such as muffins, crackers, and more.

4. Sweetened Cereals 

It is important to avoid food for diabetes that has high carbs and less protein. For this, sweetened cereals are not a good choice, and you won’t find them in diabetic food diets. As their alternative, you can go for low-carb meals based on proteins.

5. Potatoes and French Fries 

As potatoes are high-carb foods, doctors ask you to limit them if you have diabetes. And, if you fry them in vegetable oil, they become more dangerous. Deep-fried foods like french fries are known to produce unwanted compounds such as aldehydes. They may lead to inflammation and increase the chance of multiple diseases such as cancers and heart conditions.

6. Processed Snacks 

It is wise to avoid popular snacks such as chips, crisps, and crackers as they are not the best food for diabetes. Have a high amount of carbs present in them. They increase your blood sugar levels almost immediately. If you feel hungry at an unusual time, an ideal meal for you can be low-carb vegetables with cheese or nuts.

7. Fruit Juice 

When learning what foods to avoid with diabetes, it may be a surprise to find fruit juice on the list. Though apparently fruit juice boosts your health, the way it affects diabetics is just like any other sugary product. Be it 100% fruit juice without added sugar or fruit juice with added sugar; it can be a problem. Just like artificially sweetened beverages, fruit juice has a high value of fructose, which may lead to conditions such as heart ailments, rapid weight gain, and insulin resistance.

Additional Read: 10 Important Diabetes Tests

8. Dried fruits 

Similar to fruit juice, dried fruits have a high amount of sugar, which becomes more concentrated due to the loss of water. However, if you are switching to the best food for diabetes, there is no need to give up fruit completely as you can consume low-sugar foods such as apples and berries. While this food for diabetes will give your body the health benefits it requires, it will also keep your blood sugar level in check.

Foods to Avoid with Diabetes

9. Flavored coffee 

Along with its other health benefits, coffee is often considered to lower the risk of diabetes; it is not the same as flavored coffee. These drinks are loaded with carbs and can lead to obesity. To prevent that, it is better to go for espresso or plain coffee as they are better options.

Best Food For Diabetes 

Apart from knowing what foods to avoid with diabetes, it is important to know about the best diabetic foods. Take a look at them: 

With a thorough understanding of what foods to avoid with diabetes, you can switch to a diet with the best food for diabetes. For better management, learn about the relationship between diabetes and hypertension, as well as cinnamon and diabetes. Get a doctor consultation in case you have any concerns regarding the best and worst food for diabetes. To get comprehensive healthcare support, you can trust Bajaj Finserv Health, a platform that is associated with 8,400+ doctors across specialties. If you want to protect yourself from diabetes you can avail diabetes health insurance.

Choose from the best doctors based on qualifications, languages known, and more, and go for either an in-clinic visit or consult remotely. Also, book blood sugar tests in simple steps on the platform, and get your sample collected from home. With a balanced diet and comprehensive healthcare, you can conveniently keep diabetes symptoms in check!

Published on 22 Jul 2022Last updated on 26 Dec 2022
  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4478580/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5903011

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

Dr. Jayesh Pavra

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Jayesh Pavra

, MBBS 1 , MD - Medicine 3

Practicing Since 2000 In Bopal. Well Known M.D. Physician And Diabetologist


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