High blood sugar can lead to a multitude of health issues. Mainly, it can lead to diabetes, which is what an estimated 34.2 million people have in the United States. If you have high blood sugar, that means there is too much sugar in your blood. This is because either your body has too little insulin or your body isn’t functioning with insulin properly.
Although it may seem uncontrollable at times, there are ways to manage your high blood sugar. Changing your lifestyle habits as well as your diet can help maintain it. This means cutting out some foods that may be doing more harm than good for your body (even if they are some of your favorites). We’ve compiled a list of the worst foods you could eat if you have high blood sugar. Once you read through them, be sure to check out 4 Eating Habits Secretly Increasing Your Blood Sugar, Say Dietitians.
“Many fruit-flavored yogurts are packed with more sugar than some desserts,” says Sarah Anzlovar, RD, a registered dietitian and owner of Sarah Gold Nutrition. “Instead, try plain Greek or Icelandic yogurt and add a little honey to sweeten it yourself.”
Both Greek yogurt and Icelandic yogurt have more protein than regular yogurt, which can help balance your blood sugar. To dress up your yogurt, top it with fresh fruit or seeds for some added fiber. Anzolvar says that the fiber may help to stabilize blood sugar as well.
Smoothie bowls are just bowls of, you guessed it, smoothies! Just with a little more decor on top, made up of more fruit, nuts, and some other toppings. The most common one is the acai bowls, made up of deep purple fruit. Although delicious, and typically nutritious, premade ones don’t have the same effect as a fresh bowl.
“Nothing against fruit or smoothies, but when you buy a pre-made smoothie, your smoothie most likely will be made mostly from fruit juices such as a blend of apple juice and pineapple juice mixed together and it lacks any form of dietary fiber and protein,” says Roxana Ehsani, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, and National Media Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Ehsani continues to say that both dietary fiber and protein are rare to find in pre-made smoothies and smoothie bowls. A lot of those pre-made bowls found in the grocery stores are high in total carbohydrates, which will increase your already high blood sugar even more.
Instead, she believes it’s best to make your smoothies and smoothie bowls at home. Or, ask your local smoothie shop to add some real fruit—both fresh and frozen work.
“Limit the fruit juice,” says Ehsani. “Instead, use milk or non-dairy milk, or even kefir, and add a source of fiber such as fresh or frozen fruit. Plus, some seeds or nuts like chia seeds or flax seeds.”
She says you can even add a scoop of peanut butter, protein powder, or Greek yogurt to keep your blood sugar more stable with extra protein added in it.
According to Melissa Azzaro, RDN, LD, a registered dietitian and podcast host at Hormonally Yours, foods high on the glycemic index raise blood sugar faster than foods that are lower on the glycemic index. This includes white bread, white rice, potatoes, soda, and snacks like potato chips and pretzels.
However, you don’t need to rule them out completely.
“The glycemic index only measures foods when eaten alone,” says Azzaro. “So, to lower their impact on blood sugar, don’t eat them alone and instead pair them with foods high in protein and fiber.”
“You might be overwhelmed by all the choices in the grocery aisles, especially when it comes to the cereal aisles,” says Ehlani. “Some cereals may be really high in total carbohydrates and lack both dietary fiber and protein, two nutrients that will keep your blood sugar stable and in control.”
If you’re unsure of which cereals to choose from, Ehlani suggests that it’s best to opt for a cereal that has at least three grams of dietary fiber per serving and at least three grams of protein per serving.
However, if you end up with a cereal that isn’t top-grade, don’t panic, because there are ways to balance it out.
“You could even add some protein on the side if you do choose a higher carb cereal,” says Ehlani. “Try serving it with a side of scrambled eggs or sprinkle some chopped-up walnuts into your bowl. Or, have a side of Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.”
You won’t feel as happy as a kid in a candy store when you hear about this one because sweet treats are on the “do not eat” list.
“Unfortunately, if your blood sugar is already high, the last thing you should be eating is handfuls of candy, which will continue to make it go sky high,” says Ehlani. “No matter what type of candy you are choosing it likely won’t help your blood sugar numbers. It is best to be avoided until your blood sugar is in a safer range.”
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