FOODS TO AVOID AND REPLACE: HIGH CARB, PROCESSED, LOW NUTIENT FOODS:
BREADS: Many of our breads are made with white flour which is devoid of nutrients. Breads made from other, healthy grains are typically high in carbohydrates and thus, a challenge for diabetics. Fortunately, today there are other flours such as almond and coconut flours that provide not only nutrients but are lower in carbs as well. The internet is full of low carb, healthy recipes for not only bread but desserts as well.
BEANS: As complex carbohydrates, beans offer a number of healthy nutrients. Unfortunately, they are high in carbohydrates and as a result, can cause blood sugar spikes despite their nutrients. Some Type 2 diabetics have been known to do well including beans in their meal plans. This is likely due to the fact that they produce enough insulin to process the carbohydrates effectively.
“CAFO” MEATS AND POULTRY: CAFO stands for “confined animal feeding operations” and the majority of our typical grocery store meats/poultry comes from CAFO’s. These animals are confined in small cages, fed hormones, plastic pellets, antibiotics, steroids, etc. to make them grow faster. Their living conditions are often inhumane and we’re eating these animals! Buy grass fed and free range meats/poultry instead.
CEREALS AND PASTA: Most pre-packaged cereals contain anywhere from about 50-80% carbs. Pasta, as we know, is a no-no due to its’ high carb count and low nutritional value. Know that and avoid if possible.
GMO FOODS: Genetically modified organisms were patented by Monsanto and designed to withstand the weed killer, RoundUp (also manufactured by Monsanto). Monsanto says that GMOs (which includes nearly all of the corn and soybeans now farmed in the USA) are harmless to humans. The big issue is that these crops are literally soaked with RoundUp. Eventually, some of the chemicals (glyphosate is the main ingredient in RoundUp) get absorbed by the plants and when ingested, we ingest a good dose of RoundUp.
GRAINS: These foods are typically high in carbs and while several grains are considered healthy, diabetics often don’t realize that many foods that might be good for a non-diabetic, aren’t the same for diabetics. Diabetics trying to control blood sugar levels often do well watching carb loads. Another important thing to remember is that not all diabetics are the same. For argument’s sake, some people have “a little diabetes” meaning that they produce more insulin than other diabetics. As a result, those folks can process more sugar/carbs than many of the rest of us can.
LOW FAT FOODS: The belief that low fat foods, once thought to be essential for a healthy diet, has been debunked in recent years. Our bodies need fats to function properly so go for full fat products instead; just make sure the fats you choose are healthy fats like avocado/oil, coconut oil
"NO SUGAR ADDED FOODS": I was originally fooled by this labeling and hope you aren’t as well. These foods can be as high in carbs as many others. So, while there may be no additional sugar put into these foods, watch out for the total carb load in these products and always make sure to check your nutrition labels.
PACKAGED FOODS: Look at the ingredients in any packaged foods that you purchase. If you find chemicals or additives that you don’t understand, best to avoid. Food manufacturers are given a certain degree of latitude in their labeling restrictions as well so it’s always best to read a label well. Look for added sugars and especially sugar alcohols (words ending with “ol”) as sugar alcohols can raise your blood sugars more than expected.
PESTICIDE RIDDEN FOODS: As our technology has improved, we’ve made some mistakes and many of those mistakes end up in the transformation of the food that we eat today. In an effort to increase food production, pesticides have been sprayed on many of our fruits and vegetables to afford better, larger crop yields. But wait! We eat those foods and unfortunately, pesticide consumption has become a staple in the current American diet.
You can help avoid the amount of pesticides you consume by buying organic products. PLU (Product Look Up) codes are those tiny little stickers stuck to your fruits and veggies. If you see (4) numbers in the PLU, it means the food was conventionally grown and pesticides were used. If there are 5 numbers starting with an “8”, it means that product was genetically modified (GMO) and you should avoid those foods. Finally, if the PLU has 5 numbers and starts with a “9”, those foods are organically grown and far preferable in a healthy diet than the others.
PROCESSED FOODS: Avoid any “white food” like potatoes, rice, white bread, and rice crackers. White foods indicate a high level of processing meaning that the nutrients have been stripped out of the foods. These foods are nutritionally deficient and provide “empty calories”. A good example of eating “empty calories” is when you eat a brand name fast food meal only to find yourself hungry again a few hours after eating it. What’s this telling you? Your body didn’t get sufficient nutrients from that fast food meal to satisfy your body’s nutritional needs. That’s why you’re still hungry.
SODAS, ENERGY DRINKS AND FRUIT DRINKS: Fruit juice and sweet drinks are some of the worst things for diabetics because the sugar from them rapidly enters our bloodstreams and can cause serious blood sugar spikes. The energy boost that comes from sports or energy drinks is often a result of the high carb content.
FOODS TO LOOK FOR: ORGANIC, HIGH FIBER, LOW CARB FOODS WITH NO GMO’S