Whether you’re new to diabetes or have suffered with this common metabolic disorder for years, the types of foods that are supposedly “safe” for you seems to keep changing. In the past, you were supposed to avoid simple carbs such as honey and maple syrup while loading up on complex carbohydrates such as vegetables, legumes, and starchy vegetables was the thing to do. But is it really safe to eat this way? HSE has uncovered the truth about this common diabetes health scam and the findings may surprise you!
What is the Glycemic Index?
New evidence has suggested that the best way to stabilize blood sugar levels and keep them at optimal levels is to follow the glycemic index diet. The glycemic index (GI) is a numerical scale that indicated how fast a particular food will raise glucose (blood sugar) in the body. Foods with a low glycemic index typically cause a moderate rise in blood glucose levels while high GI foods could cause dangerous blood sugar spikes. Low GI carbohydrates are rated 0-54 while medium GI carbs rate between 55-70 and high GI carbs rate over 70.
Let’s take a look at the safest carbohydrates for diabetics according to the glycemic index.
Each of these foods is under 54 and under:
Oftentimes, diabetics steer clear of fruit for fear of dangerous blood sugar spikes. Thankfully, each of these fruits are low-glycemic and ideal for breakfast or a healthy snack for diabetics: Cherries, plums, grapefruit, peaches, apples, prunes, pears, apricots, grapes, and strawberries.
Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, mushrooms, tomatoes, lettuce, green beans, red peppers, and onions are all low-glycemic vegetables that are safe for diabetics to consume. When watching your carbohydrate intake, it can be difficult to figure out which vegetables are best for your health. Skimping out on veggies can mean serious nutrient deficiencies so it’s best to consume a variety each day. Fried, chopped, sautéed, or dipped in hummus; vegetables are great for your health!
- Healthy Snacks
When you live with diabetes, finding the right snack to avoid sudden blood sugar drops or spikes can be difficult. Hummus is a very low glycemic food that can be eaten with broccoli or celery for a protein-rich snack that stabilizes your blood sugar and keeps you fuller longer. Peanuts, walnuts, cashews, raisins, jam, salsa, and guacamole are also excellent snack choices for diabetics!
Beans are a good staple for diabetics because they provide loads of blood-sugar-stabilizing protein. Low-glycemic beans include butter beans, navy beans, chick peas, lentils, pintos, and yellow split peas. They’re perfect as a main course, side dish, or salad topper.
Diary doesn’t have to be a no-no for diabetics. Whole milk, skim milk, chocolate milk, custard, and organic yogurt are all safe foods for diabetics. Greek yogurt is rich in protein that can help keep you feeling full and satisfied so you’re less tempted to eat whatever is put in front of you while you’re out or at work.
A common health scam diabetics have heard for years is they shouldn’t touch grain products. Not necessarily true. You just have to know the right kind of grains to eat. Spaghetti, pealed barley, quinoa, buckwheat, and wheat tortillas are all low glycemic foods that are safe for diabetics.
The Truth about “Sugar Free” Foods
If you’ve been living with diabetes for a while now, you’ve probably run into plenty of pre-packaged “sugar-free” foods that are supposedly healthy for diabetics. Nothing could be further from the truth. Anything pre-packaged and processed it NOT healthy for you. Sure, they take the sugar out, but what are they replacing it with? Saccharine, aspartame and sucralose.
Let’s look at why you should not be putting these additives into your body:
- Though they don’t raise your blood sugar because they have no carbohydrate content, they’re terrible for your health. Saccharine is a coal-derived sweetener that is manufactured using chlorine and ammonia.
- It may be 700 times sweeter than table sugar but it’s just about that much worse for your health, especially with diabetes. This is because saccharine has been linked to serious allergic reactions including breathing problems and gastrointestinal complaints and has also been proven to cause cancer in lab rats!
- Aspartame is one of the worst sweeteners you can put into you body. Aspartame poisoning has a whopping 92 different symptoms associated with it. This synthetic sweetener can cause neurological symptoms, headaches, dizziness, headaches, slurring of speech, personality changes, skin allergies, respiratory distress, and has been linked to the development of cancer.
- You may have been told that sucralose (otherwise known as Splenda) is much healthier for you than other sweeteners. Not true at all. The sweetener health scams haven’t stopped with high fructose corn syrup. Sucralose is now the new health dangers you’re unknowingly consuming.
The manufacturers of this new dangerous sweetener are telling the truth when they say it’s made from real sugar. Yes, it is. It’s made by adding chlorine molecules to convert the sugar molecule into something called a fructo-galactose molecule. Your body cannot successfully metabolize this molecule because it’s not found in nature and your body doesn’t know what to do with it. So it stays in your system and may cause headaches, weight gain, and even cancer.
When you’re looking for safe diabetic foods, it’s important to think healthy instead of just thinking sugar-free. Whole foods such as the low-glycemic foods mentioned above will not only keep your blood sugar stabilized, but keep your body healthy and better able to process nutrients.
Avoiding those pre-packed “sugar-free” food traps is your first defense against developing more serious health problems in the future. You can lower your blood sugar and prevent and even reverse diabetes by sticking to a healthy eating and moderate exercise plan. Take charge of your health by arming yourself with knowledge and you’ll be much less likely to fall for health scams in the future!