The Best And Worst Foods For Diabetics
Did you know diabetes is the #1 cause of death worldwide? This Nutrition Bite delves into the best and worst foods for diabetics and pre-diabetics.
Type 2 diabetes [Diabetes mellitus type 2] is considered by many a modern pandemic.(1) In 2016 the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the number of people with diabetes has quadrupled since 1980, with 422 million people diagnosed, globally. In fact, they list diabetes as the #1 cause of death, worldwide.
Sadly these numbers are projected to continue to grow, with a global estimate of 642 million people affected by 2040. (2)
In the US, according to a 2017 report from the CDC, there are over 30 million Americans living with type 2 diabetes.
They also reported 84.1 million people in the United States are pre-diabetic; having the precursors to developing this type of diabetes fully, unless changes in diet and lifestyle are made. That’s 34% of the population on the borderline of getting diabetes.
Experts have estimated that around 7.2 million Americans are undiagnosed — walking around as type 2, and unaware of the fact. (3)
Of even more concern, the International Diabetes Federation estimates that worldwide, 212 million people with diabetes are undiagnosed. (4)
A Leading Cause of Death in the US and Worldwide
With statistics like that, it’s no wonder type 2 diabetes is such cause for concern.
In 2016, the WHO reported that 1.5 people around the world died as a direct result of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes makes up between 90-95% of all cases of diabetes, meaning that of those 1.5 million, between 1.35 and 1.42 million people died as a result of this modern scourge. In the United States, it’s not much better — type 2 diabetes is currently the 7th leading cause of death. (5-6)
With so many people on the brink with pre-diabetes, and an alarming number undiagnosed, the math predicts those numbers will continue rising around the world.
The 5 Best Foods for Diabetics and Prevention
Your food choices can either prevent or promote insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
As adults, we have a tendency to prefer the foods we were raised with. But continuing to eat only familiar foods can be your downfall.
Dr. Fuhrman says, “My advice for your success is: Be a choosy eater, not a picky one.”
Research shows that it takes between 8 to 15 times of eating a new food to accept it as familiar. Taste is a learned pattern. Repeated exposure to a variety of fruits and vegetables has been shown to increase our acceptance and liking of them.
So, if you find a food on the ‘Best’ list that has you turning up your nose, give it another try — and keep trying. Over time, you will like these foods more and more. Just keep on doing it, and you will soon be lovin’ them.
#1: Green Vegetables
Leafy greens, cruciferous and other green vegetables are the most important foods to focus on for diabetes reversal and prevention. Higher green vegetable consumption is associated with lower HbA1c levels.(7)
#2: Non-Green, Non-Starchy Vegetables
Packed with fiber and phytochemicals, vegetables like mushrooms, onions, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, and cauliflower keep blood glucose low.
#3: Beans, Lentils, and other Legumes
The ideal carbohydrate source with low glycemic load due to their protein, fiber and resistant starch.
#4: Nuts and Seeds
With their low glycemic load, nuts and seeds protect against heart disease, promote weight loss and have anti-inflammatory effects that may prevent the development of insulin resistance.
#5: Low-Sugar Fresh Fruit
Rich in fiber and antioxidants, fruits like berries, kiwi, oranges, pomegranate, and melon satisfy cravings for sweets. (8-9-10)
The Worst Foods
The #1 worst foods for those with diabetes or trying to prevent it?
Any with ADDED SUGARS. (No surprise there!)
The sugars added to sweetened beverages and processed foods enter the bloodstream rapidly, causing dangerous spikes in blood glucose. Do that several times a day and you’ve got a recipe for a preventable killer disease.
But there are more foods to avoid… And #5 might surprise you as much as it did us!!