Whether you have been living with type 2 diabetes for years or your doctor just recently brought up the diagnosis, you are not alone. But…did you know it is possible to reverse it? With the proper diet and exercise routine, it is possible to reverse type 2 diabetes even if you are already on medications to manage your blood sugars. You will need to drastically change your lifestyle. Including the way you grocery shop and the way you prepare food. In this post, I am going to tell you the most important foods to avoid to take back control over your diabetes.
What You Eat Matters
What we put into our bodies determines the way it functions. When we fuel our bodies with healthy, sustainable foods, our bodies respond by giving us energy. However, when we eat junky, processed foods, our blood sugars spike and then quickly crash. Leaving us feeling sluggish, nauseated, and even achy. If you want to know more about what happens inside of the body when you have diabetes, be sure to read Living with Diabetes.
If you want to reverse your type 2 diabetes, you will have to make some drastic lifestyle changes. You will need to start an exercise routine and be committed to it at least 3 days a week. Most importantly, you will need to change the way you eat. I am not trying to pick on you, but what you have been eating is not working for your body. It needs you to make healthier choices and eliminate the bad ones to function at its’ best. Below you will find a list of the major foods you need to stop eating now.
1. Stay away from processed foods
Foods that have a shelf life longer than your goldfish, are not meant to be ingested, especially not daily. What do I mean by processed foods? Bags of chips, Hamburger Helper, Little Debbie snacks, frozen pizza… the list could go on and on.
Dr. Forrest Sauer’s golden rule is “If it comes in a can, a box or through a window” it is probably not good for you. Go ahead and think about that for a moment. You might be asking, “What is left?” What is left is fresh, whole, real food that is good for your body.
Preparing meals at home is not only healthier for you, but it is also cheaper than eating out. Don’t be fooled though. Not all the food that claims to be healthy is actually good for you.
It is important to read the nutrition labels on all the products you are buying. Some companies hide added sugars with unfamiliar names or claim to be low-fat but are full of hydrogenated oils. If you don’t already, you will need to learn how to read the nutrition labels. Check out the Mayo Clinic’s guide to reading food labels for diabetics.
2. Find Substitutes for White Bread and Rice
Refined starches like white rice and white flour (including white bread and pasta) are high in carbohydrates and low in fiber. Your body digests these foods and turns them into sugar which then increases your blood sugar. It is crucial to eliminate these from your diet to properly maintain your glucose levels.
It does not mean that you can’t enjoy your favorite food items ever again. There are many great substitutes that contain whole grains such as wild rice, barley, and whole grain breads. These products are broken down more slowly in your body and won’t spike your blood sugars.
3. Alcohol and Sweetened Drinks
Alcoholic beverages such as beer or mixed drinks with soda will send your blood sugars soaring. Not only are they full of sugars, but they usually tend to be high in carbohydrates. Sweetened drinks such as sports drinks or fruit juices are also something you should stay away from as they will cause your blood sugars to increase rapidly.
Instead, you should be drinking more water. Did you know that most Americans are chronically dehydrated? 75% of us, to be exact. But… if you are craving fruit juices, you can try freshly squeezing/juicing your own at home. If you are a sweet tea drinker, brew your own tea and sweeten it yourself. You will end up adding far less sugar than what the manufacturers do.
4. Just Say No to Fried Foods
There are so many other great ways to enjoy foods other than having them deep fried. I know that eating out is inevitable for people who travel often. I also know that many meals come with a side of fries at a restaurant. However, if you ask for additional side options, you will find they usually have a healthier choice.
Fried foods retain a lot of oil, which means that you are consuming a lot of extra, unnecessary calories. Not to mention that the breading on most of these items is adding carbohydrates to your daily count. Consider baking or broiling your foods instead of having them fried.
You will find that you are able to eat more food, feel fuller longer, and feel better longer when you eliminate all the extra fat. Let’s be honest with ourselves, fried foods always seem like a delicious treat at the time, but we end up paying for it by feeling miserable an hour later.
5. Find a Lean Cut of Meat
We live in a world where we can have our favorite cuts of meat delivered right to our doorsteps without having to leave the house. This also makes it easy to resist temptation. Instead of having your usual high-fat main course such as ground beef, ribs, or hot dogs, try a leaner cut pork tenderloin. Or get your surf-and-turf fix with a lean cut of beef and a side of shellfish.
Eating a higher fat content in meat puts you at an even higher risk for heart disease. People with type 2 diabetes are already at an elevated risk for things like heart attack and stroke. This is one simple way to decrease those risks without sacrificing on your favorite dishes. Be sure to not let this piece of meat be the only star in the show though and balance out the meal with some fresh veggies!
Reverse Your Diabetes
Simply eliminating these foods items will not be enough to reverse your diagnosis unfortunately. However, it is a great start! To fully get a handle on this disease, you will need to stick to a strict exercise routine (which includes losing a few pounds.) You will need to start eating the “right” foods for your body. For a list of foods, you should be adding to your diet, be sure to read Reversing Your Diabetes.
For most people, simply reading about the right steps to take isn’t enough to get results. If you are looking for assistance with meal planning, accountability, mentorship and guidance along your journey, Twin Oaks Health is here for you. At Twin Oaks Health we have helped diabetics just like you reverse their disease and live healthier, happier lives. If you want to learn more about getting started, click here to work with our Fargo diabetes doctor.