The word prediabetes is a terrifying one. Researchers tell us that having this condition doubles your risk of getting diabetes and triples your chances of dying from cardiovascular disease.
Unfortunately, 50% to 70% of Americans who have type 2 diabetes are unaware they have it because the symptoms don’t show up until severe damage has been done. Such as people get elbow pain, and they usually take it, while in some cases, the pain can also indicate prediabetes. That’s why you need to check out these five foods that can raise your blood sugar levels and put you at risk for developing the condition in the future.
1. Sweetened Drinks
You might think sweet drinking tea or fruit juice is no big deal when you’re trying so hard to lose weight, but don’t kid yourself: all those extra calories will add up in a significant way. They may also be why many people with prediabetes are overweight and why those same individuals have high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
When you drink a bottle of orange juice, you’re getting about 16 teaspoons of sugar in every glass. You can beat this by drinking low-calorie iced tea instead or unsweetened iced tea if you prefer a little sweetness to your beverage. A good rule of thumb for all fruit drinks is that they should contain no more than 100 calories per serving — any more, and they’ll go right to your waistline and then straight to your heart!
2. White Potatoes
This one’s another biggie: swapping out potatoes made with brown rice or another whole grain may improve your carbohydrate intake, but not if you’re still eating the white kind.
Even though a plain baked potato has only about 100 calories and offers a host of essential nutrients like potassium and vitamin C, it also has about 20 grams of carbohydrates — which is why most Americans get up to one-third of their daily carbs from potatoes. If you have prediabetes, this can be particularly damaging because high blood sugar levels lower your HDL cholesterol (the good stuff), raise triglyceride levels, and increase fat storage. If weight loss is a goal for you and improving your blood glucose numbers, swapping those all-carb potatoes for some protein from beans will do the trick.
3. Refined Grains
Another major source of carbs is refined grains — those made white and fluffy either through bleaching or by adding chemical agents. It doesn’t just apply to bread, pasta, and rice: those so-called “wheat” crackers you eat as a snack might not be wheat at all, but a common food additive is known as maltodextrin! The problem with these foods is that they’re empty calories that turn into sugar in your body. When you have diabetes, this puts added stress on your heart, kidneys, and blood vessels.
Better options would be whole grain pasta (or 100% whole wheat), brown rice instead of white, multigrain bread without added sugars, and whole-grain cereals made with fruit instead of processed sugar. Swap over to these foods and enjoy them because breaking this habit will help you avoid the dangerous effects of prediabetes.
4. White Breads & Rolls
White bread has had its fiber-rich outer bran removed, which means they’re not only low in nutrients but also high on carbs per serving — after all, that’s what gives them their airy texture!
The result is that they raise blood sugar levels quickly and increase your risk for heart disease and diabetes. Look at labels carefully: these foods can trap even when a product says it has “whole grains” or other health claims. Just because a loaf of bread has “wheat” or “multigrain” in the name doesn’t mean it’s good for you!
5. Candy, Desserts & Sugary Breakfast Foods
If you’re hoping to swap those sugary sweets and desserts for fruits, think again: even though fruit is healthy as long as you don’t overeat it at once, that same sugar content can raise blood sugar levels just as fast.
It means that if your goal is to keep your blood glucose down — so you can avoid prediabetes altogether — it’s best to skip anything with a lot of added sugar. You should also limit how often you indulge in sweet breakfast choices like pancakes, waffles, and other processed foods.
Of course, if you have prediabetes, it’s not the time to cut all carbs from your life! You should still include healthy carbohydrates in your diet – make sure they come from whole grain sources and limit how often you eat them.
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