Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a chronic metabolic disorder characterized by persistent hyperglycemia. It may be due to impaired insulin secretion, resistance to peripheral actions of insulin, or both. Chronic hyperglycemia in synergy with the other metabolic aberrations in patients with diabetes mellitus can cause damage to various organ systems, leading to the development of disabling and life-threatening health complications, most prominent of which are microvascular (retinopathy, nephropathy, and neuropathy) and macrovascular complications leading to a 2-fold to 4-fold increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Three types by etiology and clinical presentation, type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes (GDM).

Symptoms of marked hyperglycemia include 

  • polyuria, 
  • polydipsia, 
  • weight loss, 
  • sometimes with polyphagia, and 
  • blurred vision

Impairment of growth and susceptibility to certain infections may also accompany chronic hyperglycemia. Acute, life-threatening consequences of uncontrolled diabetes are hyperglycemia with ketoacidosis or the nonketotic hyperosmolar syndrome.

Long-term complications of diabetes include retinopathy with potential loss of vision; nephropathy leading to renal failure; peripheral neuropathy with risk of foot ulcers, amputations, and Charcot joints; and autonomic neuropathy causing gastrointestinal, genitourinary, and cardiovascular symptoms and sexual dysfunction. Patients with diabetes have an increased incidence of atherosclerotic cardiovascular, peripheral arterial and cerebrovascular disease. Hypertension and abnormalities of lipoprotein metabolism are often found in people with diabetes.

Foods to avoid

Just as important as figuring out which foods you should include in a diet for diabetes, understand which foods you should limit. Here are a few foods that you should limit or avoid if you have diabetes.

  1. Refined grains

Refined grains like white bread, pasta, and rice are high in carbs but low in fiber, which can increase blood sugar levels more quickly than their whole grain.

Research showed, whole grain rice was significantly more effective at stabilizing blood sugar levels after eating than white rice. 

  • Sugar-sweetened beverages

  • Sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, sweet tea, and energy drinks contain a concentrated amount of sugar in each serving, which can cause blood sugar levels to spike.

  • Fried foods

  • Fried foods have a lot of trans fat, that has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease.

  • Alcohol

  • People with diabetes are generally advised to limit their alcohol intake. This is because alcohol can increase the risk of low blood sugar, especially if consumed on an empty stomach.

  • Breakfast cereal

  • Breakfast cereals are very high in added sugar. Some brands pack as much sugar into a single serving as some desserts.

  • Candy

  • Candy contains a high amount of sugar. It typically has a high glycemic index, meaning it’s likely to cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels after you eat.

  • Processed meats

  • Processed meats like bacon, hot dogs, salami, and cold cuts are high in sodium, preservatives, and other harmful compounds.

  • Fruit juice

  • This is because fruit juice contains all the carbs and sugar found in fresh fruit, but it’s lacking the fiber needed to help stabilize blood sugar levels.


    Blood sugar spikes occur when your blood sugar rises and then falls sharply after you eat.

    In the short term, they can cause lethargy and hunger. 

    Blood sugar spikes can also cause your blood vessels to harden and narrow, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

  • Low-carb diet

  • Carbohydrates (carbs) are what cause blood sugar to rise.

    When you eat carbs, they are broken down into simple sugars. Those sugars then enter the bloodstream.

    As your blood sugar levels rise, your pancreas releases a hormone called insulin, which prompts your cells to absorb sugar from the blood. This causes your blood sugar levels to drop.

  • Avoid refined carbs

  • Refined carbs, otherwise known as processed carbs, are sugars or refined grains like table sugar, white bread, white rice, soda, candy, breakfast cereals and desserts.

    Refined carbs are said to have a high glycemic index because they are very easily and quickly digested by the body. This leads to blood sugar spikes.

  • Lower sugar intake

  • Most of table sugar comes from processed and prepared foods, such as candy, cookies and sodas.

    Body breaks these simple sugars down very easily, causing an almost immediate spike in blood sugar.

    This is when the cells fail to respond as they should to the release of insulin, resulting in the body not being able to control blood sugar effectively 

  • Check on healthy weight

  • Being overweight or obese can make it more difficult for your body to use insulin and control blood sugar levels hence, lead to blood sugar spikes.

    The precise ways it works are still unclear, but there’s lots of evidence linking obesity to insulin resistance and the development of type 2 diabetes.

    Weight loss, on the other hand, has been shown to improve blood sugar control.

  • Exercise 

  • Exercise helps control blood sugar spikes by increasing the sensitivity of your cells to the hormone insulin. It may also causes muscle cells to absorb sugar from the blood, helping to lower blood sugar levels.

  • Eat more fiber

  • Fiber is made up of the parts of plant food that your body can’t digest.

    It is often divided into two groups: soluble and insoluble fiber.

    Soluble fiber, in particular, can help control blood sugar spikes.

    It dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance that helps slow the absorption of carbs in the gut. These results in a steady rise and fall in blood sugar, rather than a spike.

    Good sources of soluble fiber include:

    • Oatmeal
    • Nuts
    • Legumes
    • Some fruits, such as apples, oranges and blueberries
    • Many vegetables

  • Drink more water

  • Not drinking enough water can lead to blood sugar spikes.

    When you are dehydrated, your body produces a hormone called vasopressin. This encourages your kidneys to retain fluid and stop the body from flushing out excess sugar in your urine.

    It also prompts your liver to release more sugar into the blood.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Vinegar, particularly apple cider vinegar, has been found to have many health benefits.

    It has been linked to weight loss, cholesterol reduction, antibacterial properties and blood sugar control 

    10. Precious spices

    Cinnamon and fenugreek have been used in alternative medicine which is linked to blood sugar control.


    In healthy people, cinnamon has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar spikes following a carb-based meal

    11. Fenugreek

    The fenugreek seeds are high in soluble fiber which helps prevent blood sugar spikes by slowing down the digestion and absorption of carbs.

    However, it appears that blood sugar levels may benefit from more than just the seeds.

    12. Lifestyle Factors

    The lifestyle factors that can affect blood sugar.

    1. Stress

    Stress can negatively affect your health in a number of ways, causing headaches, increased blood pressure and anxiety.

    It has also been shown to affect blood sugar. As stress levels go up, your body releases certain hormones. The effect is to release stored energy in the form of sugar into your bloodstream for the fight-or-flight response

  • Sleep

  • Both too little and too much sleep has been associated with poor blood sugar control.

    A study showed that sleeping too little, or only for 4 hours, increased insulin resistance and blood sugar levels

  • Alcohol

  • Alcoholic drinks often contain a lot of added sugar. The sugar in alcoholic drinks will cause blood sugar spikes in the same way as added sugar in food. 


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