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10 Foods to Avoid for Prediatebes

by Sarah Cimperman, ND

Prediabetes the state of metabolic imbalance that precedes diabetes,is a growing epidemic. In the United

Statesalone it affects 1 in 3 adults of all ages, 1 in 2 elderly adults, and almost 1in 4 adolescents. The condition is characterized by high levels of blood sugar and/or insulin, the hormone that helps cells in the body absorb sugar from the blood. Sugar in the blood comes from the foods we eat, so eating the right foods is one of the most powerful steps we can take to reverse prediabetes. There are other important steps – like exercising regularly, getting good sleep, managing stress, and undergoing detoxification – but making positive dietary changes is a good place to start.

The most dangerous foods for people with prediabetes contain “fast” or simple carbohydrates that are rapidly digested and quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. Unlike “slow” or complex carbohydrates that take hours to fully digest and absorb, fast carbs flood the body with sugar and trigger the release of large amounts of insulin. Here are the top ten worst offenders.

#1  Natural & Artificial Sweeteners

Sweeteners are some of the fastest carbs around. This category includes all foods with added sweeteners, whether natural or artificial. (Artificial sweeteners don’t contain carbohydrates so they don’t raise blood sugar, but studies show that they do raise insulin levels.) It includes all forms of sugar: white, brown, cane, beet, date, granulated, powdered, and raw. It includes evaporated cane juice, agave, maple syrup, honey, rice syrup, corn syrup, caramel, molasses, and chemical additives like dextrose, maltose, sucrose, glucose, fructose, sorbitol, saccharin, aspartame, and sucralose.

#2  Baked Goods

This category includes foods made with flour, whether or not they contain gluten,whether they’re made with white flour or whole grain flour, and whether they are derived from wheat or alternative grains like spelt, rice, or quinoa. It includes breads, rolls, wraps, bagels, pretzels, crackers, pizza, pies, cakes, cookies, muffins, pastries, and anything made with bread crumbs.

#3  Pasta

This includes all forms of pasta and noodle-based dishes like spaghetti, fettuccine, ravioli, lasagna, noodle soups, and noodle salads. It also includes foods made with rice paper or wonton wrappers like wontons, potstickers, and spring and summer rolls.

#4  Breakfast Cereals

This includes hot and cold breakfast cereals, whether you pour them from a box or make them yourself. It includes oatmeal, porridge, granola, and granola bars.

#5  Grains

It’s true that whole grains like brown rice have a slight advantage over processed grains like white rice and flour, thanks to very small amounts of protein, fat, and fiber in the germ and bran layers. But they’re still mostly starch. Grains include all kinds of rice – white, red, brown, black, basmati, jasmine – as well as wheat berries, buckwheat (kasha), oats, rye, barley, amaranth, millet, quinoa, bulgur, spelt, and corn. It includes processed grains like flour and cornstarch, as well as dishes made with whole grains such as risotto, pilaf, paella, popcorn, rice cakes, polenta, grits, corn chips, tortillas, tacos, and tamales.

#6  Bananas

Unlike other fruits, bananas contain a lot of starch. This includes all kinds of bananas: small and large, yellow and red. It also includes plantains in all stages of ripeness: green, yellow, and black.

#7  Starchy Vegetables

This category includes carrots, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, pumpkins, yams, and winter squashes like acorn, butternut, and delicata. It includes potatoes of all kinds: white, yellow, purple, sweet, baked, fried, hash browns, potato chips, Tater Tots, French fries, sweet-potato fries, and foods thickened with potato starch.

#8  Processed Fruit

This includes all fruit that is sweetened or changed in any way from its original form: jelly, jam, dried fruit, canned fruit, fruit concentrates, and fruit juice, whether ready-made or fresh squeezed.

#9  Soft Drinks

The soft drinks category includes bottled beverages like soda, fruit punch, flavored water, sports drinks, and energy drinks. It also includes tea and coffee, hotor iced, unless they are brewed, unflavored, and unsweetened.

#10  Milk

Milkcontains a lot of lactose, which is a natural simple sugar. (Fermented  dairy products like yogurt and cheese are low in lactose because bacteria consume the sugar.) Milk also contains natural growth hormones that raise insulin levels through mechanisms independent of its sugar content. One study showed that drinking milk doubled fasting insulin levels and the incidence of insulin resistance. Milk can also contain genetically modified growth hormones like recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) which are given to cows to increase milk production but they also increase the production of insulin-like growth factors that are secreted into milk. They are not destroyed by pasteurization,and inside our bodies, they can act like insulin and promote insulin esistance.

So what’sgood to eat?

A healthy diet for people with prediabetes includes lots of green and non-starchy vegetables, plant or animal protein with every meal, and plenty of anti-inflammatory fats, like cold-pressed oils, avocado, olives, coconut, raw nuts and seeds, non-toxic fish and seafood, wild game, and eggs and meat from pasture-raised and grass-fed animals.

Reference sare available upon request.

Dr. Sarah Cimperman, ND is a naturopathic doctor in private practice in New York City and author of the new book, The Prediabetes Detox: A Whole-Body Program to Balance Your Blood Sugar, Increase Energy, and Reduce Sugar Cravings (www.prediabetesdetox.com). Follow Dr.Cimperman on Facebook, Twitter and her blogs, A Different Kind of Doctor andThe Naturopathic Gourmet. Find her at www.drsarahcimperman.com.

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