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5 Foods to Avoid When Reversing Diabetes

Orange Icon  5 Foods to Avoid When Reversing Diabetes

Orange Icon  5 Foods to Avoid When Reversing Diabetes

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5 Foods to avoid when reversing diabetes

Can diabetes really be reversed? Research is showing that diabetes sufferers can go a long way toward controlling their symptoms, lowering their blood sugar, and reversing the course of their disease with healthy lifestyle changes.

So which foods control blood sugar, and which foods make your diabetes worse? Here are five foods to always avoid if you want to reverse your diabetes.

1. Fruit juice

Unfortunately, fruit juice has been marketed as a “health food” fruit you can drink! However, it isn’t nearly that simple. If you’re eating to reverse your type 2 diabetes, you should consume fresh fruit only in moderation because of its sugar content. While fresh fruit contains ample nutrients – like fiber  juice has been stripped of most of the beneficial elements of whole fruit.

Fiber is essential because it's filling and can help regulate how quickly your body needs to react to carbohydrates and sugars. Fruit juice contains all of the sugar in fruit, without the fiber, so you consume much more than you should before feeling satisfied. What’s more, a small glass of juice can have the sugar of four or five servings of whole fruit. Even so-called 100% juice, with no sweeteners added, is still loaded with sugar. With nothing to slow down absorption, all that sugar hits your bloodstream at once. From a diabetic standpoint, fruit juice is really no less dangerous than sugar-laden soft drinks.

Fruit Juice

Instead of drinking juice, curb your sweet tooth with a piece of whole fruit, so you’re getting all the nutrients of fruit along with the sweet taste. Or, infuse water with fresh fruit and herbs for a refreshing drink that’s blood-sugar friendly.

2. Refined carbohydrates (like conventional pasta)

To reverse diabetes, you don’t have to completely give up carbs. The key is to get plenty of the good stuff along with your carbs: fiber, protein, and a dash of good fats.

The problem with refined carbohydrates – including conventional pasta and pastries, to name a few – is that they’ve been stripped of all their fiber and most of their protein. Fiber is critical to regulating your digestive system, and protein gives your body long-lasting energy that carbohydrates don’t. If you're eating only refined carbohydrates (with a glycemic index similar to sweets), you need to eat more to feel full. Refined starches also lack the slow-burn energy that protein has, so you’re hungry again in no time.

To control your blood sugar and reverse the progression of your diabetes, skip those high-carb white starches. Instead, try wild rice, or healthier grains like quinoa or millet. Even better, choose hearty vegetables and dark, leafy greens for a higher nutritional punch and more regulated blood sugar levels.  

3. Wheat bread (even whole wheat!)

You probably know by now that white bread is a no-no for anyone who wants to reverse their diabetes. What you might not know is that whole wheat bread is generally not much better for diabetics than white bread. In fact, whole wheat bread has the same glycemic index that bread made with white flour does, which means it’s not any safer from a diabetic standpoint. In addition, the “whole wheat” bread sold in supermarkets is often full of sneaky sweeteners and preservatives. If that's not convincing enough, almost all the wheat that’s grown in the US is now genetically modified. Yikes!

So ditch the wheat bread, whether it’s plain white or “whole” wheat. However, you can still enjoy bread sparingly if it's made with only good-for-you ingredients. Sprouted grain breads are full of protein and vital nutrients, and can be made with a variety of grains. Or, try one of our recipes for grain-free bread, which use coconut flour and almond flour for a tasty loaf that’s full of nutrients.

Isabel's Favorite "White" Bread

Bread

Ingredients

  • ⅔ cup coconut flour
  • ¾ cup almond flour
  • 10 Tbsp grass-fed butter
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1 ½ tsp apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • ¾ tsp baking soda, pure

Directions

Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Turn off heat and allow to cool a bit. Then stir in the honey and vinegar. Break the eggs into a medium bowl. Add the salt, baking soda, almond flour, and butter mixture. Mix together with an immersion blender or hand mixer.

Measure out the coconut flour. It will need to be sifted if you are not using an immersion blender. Using an immersion blender or handheld mixer, mix the coconut flour into the other ingredients very well. There is no worry of over-mixing this recipe since there's no gluten in it.

Pour the batter into a well-buttered loaf pan. I used a 9x5 pan. Bake at 300°F for about 50-60 minutes. It will be done when it is set in the middle (you can lightly touch it, or check to see if a toothpick comes out clean).

Let cool for about 15-20 minutes, then use a spatula or knife to go around the edges. Invert the pan and move the bread to a cooling rack. Cool completely. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Store in the fridge or freezer. I like to slice it fairly thinly with a Rada bread knife, place parchment paper between the slices, and store in the freezer.

4. Sweetened breakfast foods

Read the labels on many typical “breakfast” foods, and you’ll see they’re more dessert than breakfast. From sugar-frosted cereals to heavily sweetened yogurt, most Americans are consuming more and more sugar in the morning, with devastating effects. For diabetics, these foods can be even more harmful.

Along with all this sugar, many breakfast cereals and packaged breakfast pastries are loaded with white flour, soy, and canola oil. Instead of fueling you for a productive day, these foods will spike your blood sugar and leave you sluggish and foggy.

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For diabetics who want to reverse their symptoms, a healthy breakfast packed with fiber and protein can help you control cravings and sustain your energy level for the whole day. But most packaged foods in the breakfast aisle are full of just what diabetics don’t need: sugar, white flour, and trans fats.

A good rule for picking the right breakfast is to avoid anything packaged. Instead, opt for organic eggs, homemade oatmeal with whole fruit, or pure, unsweetened, whole-fat Greek yogurt. And don’t forget about the sugar that’s hiding in your morning coffee. Skip the fancy café drinks; they’re full of harmful conventional milk, refined sugar, and sweetened syrups. Instead, have some green tea with lemon, and flavor your coffee with coconut milk and pure, green-leaf stevia.

Greek Yogurt

5. Many “healthy” alternatives to cane sugar, like agave or artificial sweeteners

As the damaging effects of refined sugar become more widely known, and more Americans suffer from diabetes, there’s been a massive push to develop new “healthy” sugar alternatives. But are they really better than regular sugar, or just hype?

Artificial sweeteners like aspartame or saccharin have become billion-dollar industries, now that more Americans want to cut the empty calories of sugar from their diets. If you’re trying to reverse diabetes, however, these artificial sweeteners can do more harm than good. For one thing, you’ll never curb your sugar cravings with these super-sweet chemicals; instead, you’ll always be craving more. Artificial sweeteners can damage your liver, and have been shown to make people feel hungrier, which makes you more likely to overeat.

Sadly, some sugar alternatives, like agave, aren’t much better. While agave has been marketed as “healthy” and “natural,” in fact, it’s mostly just chemically-refined fructose.

When you’re trying to reverse diabetes, only use raw, unfiltered honey or pure stevia as sweeteners. Our Raw Honey Almond Butter Truffles are a decadent and easy treat, with all the benefits of raw honey. Real maple syrup and coconut sugar can be consumed in small amounts. But avoid most typical sugar alternatives, including artificial sweeteners and agave.

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