Managing diabetes can be challenging, especially when it comes to watching what you eat. While it's important to stick to a healthy diet, certain foods can worsen your condition. This article explores the foods that should be avoided when it comes to diabetes management.

When it comes to managing diabetes, we all know the importance of sticking to a healthy diet. But what about those foods that can creep into our daily routine and leave us feeling worse? It's time to discover which specific items should be on your ‘avoid list’ when it comes to diabetes – and don't worry – you won't have to give up delicious food altogether! Read on for an insight into some foods to avoid with high sugar content that can have a negative impact on your health.

Which Foods to Avoid for Diabetes Management?

Do you often ponder, “What foods to avoid with diabetes?” Let's take a look at some foods that diabetics should limit the consumption of:


1. Excess saturated and trans fats

Consuming excessive fats like lard and butter can result in an intake of surplus calories, leading to weight gain and potentially impacting your diabetes control and heart health. Fats and oils are highly caloric, with one gram of fat or oil containing 9 calories. 

Examples: Fatty foods to avoid with diabetes include fried and oily foods like French fries, fried chicken, and peanut butter.


2. Unrestricted Refined Carbohydrates

Too much refined carbohydrates, which lack fiber and are digested rapidly, can lead to fluctuations in blood sugar levels and are bad foods for diabetics. These can also contribute to overeating as they can provide only temporary satiety, usually lasting about an hour.

Examples: White bread, bakery items like cookies and cakes are among the refined carbohydrate foods to avoid with diabetes.


3. Excessive Added Sugars

Excessive consumption of foods with added sugars can raise your blood sugar levels immensely. When combined with being overweight, this can make diabetes management challenging and increase your chances of developing serious health conditions like heart issues and stroke.

Examples: Foods to avoid with high sugar content include candies, cookies, and pastries. 


4. Excess Processed Foods

These foods are laden with harmful trans fats, excessive sodium, sugar, artificial additives, and preservatives. They offer little to no nutritional value, lacking essential fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Examples: Foods to be avoided by diabetics in this category include canned and packaged foods like chips, salami, processed meat patties and ready-made microwave meals


5. High glycemic index- fruits and veggies

Certain fruits and veggies have a high glycemic index meaning they can cause spikes in blood sugar levels. Potatoes and sweetcorn are examples of high GI veggies, while mangoes, pineapples and bananas are the main fruits for diabetics to avoid.

While controlling what you eat can improve blood sugar control and prevent diabetes-related health issues, with the guidance of your healthcare provider, you can enjoy all foods in appropriate portions. Speak to your doctor about queries regarding foods to avoid with high blood sugar levels, before making any changes to your diet.

Which Drinks to Avoid for Diabetes Management?

  1. Alcohol

    Regular alcohol consumption by diabetics can impact blood sugar levels by causing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and can also lead to complications in diabetes-related symptoms like eye disease and nerve damage. 
  2. Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

    Sugary drinks are packed with excessive amounts of added sugars and provide very little nutritional value, leading to elevated blood sugar levels. This makes them particularly detrimental for weight control.
  3. Caffeine

    Although drinking caffeine has been associated with lowered risks of type 2 diabetes, it is advised to limit caffeine intake to 4 cups of coffee a day. Excessive caffeine intake can cause either high or low levels of blood sugar.

Understanding the types of drinks and foods to avoid with diabetes can help you improve your overall well being.

Food-Related Tips for Diabetics

Now that we’ve learned about some drinks and foods to avoid during diabetes management, here are a few tips you can follow to ensure you keep your blood sugar levels in check:

  • Choose protein and fiber-packed foods:

    Millets, beans, and lentils are loaded with fiber, protein and other nutrients and should be a part of your diabetes diet. 
  • Choose whole grains:

    These complex carbs like whole grain bread, oatmeal and brown rice are absorbed slowly by the body, thereby avoiding sugar spikes and are also great for weight management.
  • Eat more low GI-fruits and veggies:

    Fruits like papaya and apple and vegetables like cucumbers are good sources of essential vitamins and minerals. High GI fruits like mangoes and bananas are fruits for diabetics to avoid or limit.
  • Smart snacking:

    Choose healthier snacks like yoghurts, nuts and seeds over unhealthy options like chips and biscuits. 
  • Choose fresh fruits and veggies salads over juices:

    Fruits and veggies salads deliver plenty of healthy fiber, most of which is lost during the juicing process.


Diabetes doesn’t have to stop you from eating delicious meals – but it is important that you practise smart food choices. Avoiding bad food for diabetics - like sugary drinks, processed foods, and those that are high in fat - can also help keep your blood sugar levels stable. The key is knowing which ingredients can put a damper on your day and being aware of what not to eat with diabetes! With a little care, anyone living with diabetes can manage their condition while still tasting all the flavours life has to offer!