Foods that increase the risk of diabetes
December 05, 2019 | Farah Jassawalla

Foods that increase the risk of diabetes

With the rising threat of diabetes in individuals, including children, the focus has vastly shifted to the types of foods that should be consumed. Whether you have diabetes, are on the verge of being diagnosed, or have been fighting type 1 or 2 diabetes for years, this should be your guide as to what foods put you at a higher risk of suffering the consequences of diabetes.

What is diabetes?

Before trying to decide which foods need to be avoided, it is necessary to have an understanding of what diabetes is. Diabetes is known as a health condition where your body stops making/using the hormone insulin, which leads to a build-up of blood glucose (sugar) in the blood. There are two known types of diabetes:
1. Type 1 diabetes: This occurs when your body does not produce any insulin. This is mainly diagnosed in children and teenagers. However, it may be diagnosed in adults too.
2. Type 2 diabetes: This occurs when your body does not use insulin properly or is unable to produce the required amount of insulin by the body.

Foods that increase diabetes risk

Diet and exercise are two major contributing factors for diabetes and its prevention. Here, we focus more on the diet and the types of food that an individual should avoid. Four food types that are known to increase the risk of diabetes are listed below:
•    Highly processed carbohydrates: meals prepared with white sugar, white flour, and white rice are foods that do not have fiber and bran, as well as minerals and vitamins thus, it is not recommended to have these types of food items in massive amounts. As they are easy to digest, these food types increase the insulin and blood sugar levels in a very rapid manner. In order to reduce the risk of diabetes, you should decrease the processed carbohydrate food items in your diet.
•    Sugar-sweetened drinks: beverages made with sugar such as sodas, lemonade, and sweet teas are known to increase the risk of diabetes as the excess calorie intake leads to an increase in weight.
Additionally, as sugar level in the blood increases, higher insulin resistance is witnessed. Thus, it is recommended to limit the intake of beverages with high sugar content. Make water your best friend and avoid having sugar or cream in your coffee and tea as well.
•    Trans and saturated fat: trans and saturated fat is unhealthy and can lead to increased levels of cholesterol in the blood. Baked foods and fried foods in restaurants are known to have trans-fat, while saturated fats are found mostly in foods such as full-fat milk, butter, cheese, and fatty meats. If you like to munch on small snacks, have nuts instead of sweets and if you're fond of baked foods, use olive and canola oil. Use vinaigrette instead of cheese dressings for your salad and get into the habit of eating meat without skin.
•    Processed and red meat: due to the high level of nitrites and sodium, processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon, and deli meats lead to a high risk of diabetes. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition conducted in 2011 found that a 3-ounce serving of red meat per day increases the risk of diabetes by 19%. Thus, to keep your health in good shape, switch to other sources of protein such as poultry or organic eggs, salmon, and grass-fed beef. Dominate your diet with vegetables to keep it healthy and reduce the risk of diabetes.

Keep it healthy

Whole grains and a lot of fruits and vegetables are essential. However, you should also focus on having a routine of exercising. Exercising helps the body to use insulin and keep blood sugar at normal levels. It also helps in controlling weight and gives your body more energy, which is good for the overall health of your body.

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Farah Jassawalla

Farah Jassawalla is a graduate of the Lahore School of Economics. She is also a writer, and healthcare enthusiast, having closely observed case studies while working with Lahore's thriving general physicians at their clinics.