March 9, 2021

Foods And Drinks That Cause Blood Sugar Spikes

If you’re a person with diabetes, you know how important it is to watch what you eat. Here are some foods that can cause your blood sugar to spike - and some diabetes-friendly alternatives.

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Foods And Drinks That Cause Blood Sugar Spikes

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Diabetes can transform the seemingly-simple task of meal planning into a minefield. When you have this disease, you need to keep a close eye on everything you eat – otherwise, you could unintentionally throw your blood sugar out of balance. And when too much glucose builds up in your system, the result can be a blood sugar spike. That can result in unpleasant symptoms like fatigue, blurry vision, and thirstiness, among many others.

Some foods are particularly notorious when it comes to triggering blood sugar spikes. Fortunately, there are a few simple substitutions you can make to avoid these items while still eating a well-balanced diet. Keep reading to check out our list of foods and drinks that can cause your blood sugar to spike – and what you can safely replace them with.

7 Foods And Drinks To Avoid (And 7 To Enjoy Instead)

Avoid: White Rice

Rice is a crucial ingredient in countless recipes, but if you want to include it in your diet, you need to make sure you’re eating the right type of rice. According to Harvard Medical School, white rice is so highly processed that it’s the nutritional equivalent of eating “pure table sugar.” That’s not nutritious for anyone – especially if you’re living with diabetes.

Healthy Food Substitute: Brown Rice

Brown rice still contains a lot of carbs, but it’s a far healthier alternative to white rice (whether you have diabetes or not). Unlike white rice, the only component of the grain that’s removed while making brown rice is the outer hull. As a result, it’s much richer in nutrients – contains fiber and remember portion control is always important! and can even help lower your blood sugar levels after meals!

Avoid: Other Refined Grains

Of course, this isn’t just limited to rice. White bread, pasta, and other products made with refined grains can contribute to elevated blood sugar levels. Because of that, you’ll want to avoid them when you can. There are some varieties that do contain dietary fiber, therefore; always be sure to check the nutrition label.

Healthy Food Substitute: Whole Grains

Similarly to rice, you can do yourself a favor by replacing sources of refined grains in your diet with whole grain bread, pasta, and so on. Along with their reduced impact on blood sugar levels, whole grain foods have other health benefits – the fiber they include can play a role in reducing your cholesterol.

Avoid: Coffee/Caffeinated Drinks

When it comes to diabetes, caffeine is a double-edged sword. Some studies may suggest that this substance can actually help prevent diabetes for people who don’t have this disease. If you do have diabetes, however, caffeine can negatively affect insulin reaction and cause your blood sugar levels to spike.

Healthy Food Substitute: Decaf Coffee

Fortunately, you can still savor the feeling of a hot cup of coffee on a cold day – just order decaf instead! By switching to this alternative (and skipping out on sweeteners), you’ll be able to enjoy coffee breaks without putting your glucose levels at risk.

Avoid: (Some) Fast Food Items

If you don’t plan ahead the next time you pick up fast food, you could end up dealing with a blood glucose spike you weren’t expecting. Though fast food restaurants are notorious for selling items high in fat, calories, and sodium, these dishes can also contain a surprising amount of refined carbs and sugars.

Healthy Food Substitute: Diabetes-Friendly Fast Food Options

By ordering healthier meals and making smart substitutions when ordering other items, you can enjoy the occasional meal on the go without putting your blood sugar at risk. Wondering where to start? Check out this guide on ordering fast food while managing diabetes, which includes menu recommendations for a number of popular chains.

Avoid: Processed Baked Goods

There’s nothing wrong with having a sweet tooth, even if you have diabetes. That said, the simple carbohydrates and refined flour commonly found in processed baked goods can cause your blood sugar levels to skyrocket – so you may want to find another option.

Healthy Food Substitute: Homemade Desserts

What’s the best way to make sure you know what’s in your sweet treats? By making them yourself! US MED has put together a huge collection of recipes created with diabetes in mind, including all sorts of recipes for desserts.

Avoid: Soft Drinks

You aren’t just what you eat – watching what you drink is equally important. In fact, soft drinks are the largest source of added sugar in American diets today. Needless to say, if you’re already taking steps to keep your blood sugar under control, steering clear of these drinks can go a long way.

Healthy Drink Substitute: Unsweetened Beverages

The good news: even without soft drinks, you still have a wide variety of beverage options to choose from. You can safely enjoy water, unsweetened tea, and sugar-free sparkling water.

Avoid: Dried Fruit

Raisins and other dried fruits may seem like a healthy snack, but they can be risky if you have diabetes. As a result of the drying process, these morsels have a higher level of carbohydrates per serving than their undried counterparts. Making matters worse, some types of dried fruits have even more sugar added later on.

Healthy Food Substitute: Fresh Fruit

To reap the health benefits of eating fruit with less risk of blood sugar spikes, you can enjoy fresh fruit in moderation. Some fruits, such as berries, are less likely to cause problems than others – these fruits have a relatively high amount of fiber.

Live Well While Managing Diabetes

Now that you’ve learned about some foods that can cause your blood glucose levels to increase sharply (and foods that you can eat instead), you’re ready to take an important step towards getting your diabetes under control. Additionally, we have a By following the advice included in this article, you’ll be able to reduce blood sugar spikes – allowing you to focus on enjoying your life.

Looking for more information about managing diabetes? You can find all the tips and tricks you need on the “Living With Diabetes” section of the US MED website. Ready to start an exercise regime? We’ve got a video specially geared for people with diabetes who are ready to ease into it right here.

Shirley DeLeon Certified Diabetes Care & Education Specialist

Medical Review by Shirley DeLeon, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist

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