11 Foods to Avoid with Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic disease that has reached epidemic proportions among adults and children worldwide (1).

Uncontrolled diabetes has many serious consequences, including heart disease, kidney disease, blindness and other complications.

Prediabetes has also been linked to these conditions (2).

Importantly, eating the wrong foods can raise your blood sugar and insulin levels and promote inflammation, which may increase your risk of disease.

This article lists 11 foods that people with diabetes or prediabetes should avoid.

Why Does Carb Intake Matter for People with Diabetes?

Carbs, protein and fat are the macronutrients that provide your body with energy.

Of these three, carbs have the greatest effect on your blood sugar by far. This is because they are broken down into sugar, or glucose, and absorbed into your bloodstream.

Carbs include starches, sugar and fiber. However, fiber isn’t digested and absorbed by your body in the same way other carbs are, so it doesn’t raise your blood sugar.

Subtracting fiber from the total carbs in a food will give you its digestible or “net” carb content. For instance, if a cup of mixed vegetables contains 10 grams of carbs and 4 grams of fiber, its net carb count is 6 grams.

When people with diabetes consume too many carbs at a time, their blood sugar levels can rise to dangerously high levels.

Over time, high levels can damage your body’s nerves and blood vessels, which may set the stage for heart disease, kidney disease and other serious health conditions.

Maintaining a low carb intake can help prevent blood sugar spikes and greatly reduce the risk of diabetes complications.

Therefore, it’s important to avoid the foods listed below.

1. Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

Sugary beverages are the worst drink choice for someone with diabetes.

To begin with, they are very high in carbs, with a 12-ounce (354-ml) can of soda providing 38 grams (3).

The same amount of sweetened iced tea and lemonade each contain 36 grams of carbs, exclusively from sugar (45).

In addition, they’re loaded with fructose, which is strongly linked to insulin resistance and diabetes. Indeed, studies suggest that consuming sugar-sweetened beverages may increase the risk of diabetes-related conditions like fatty liver (678).

What’s more, the high fructose levels in sugary drinks may lead to metabolic changes that promote belly fat and potentially harmful cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

In one study of overweight and obese adults, consuming 25% of calories from high-fructose beverages on a weight-maintaining diet led to increased insulin resistance and belly fat, lower metabolic rate and worse heart health markers (910).

To help control blood sugar levels and prevent disease risk, consume water, club soda or unsweetened iced tea instead of sugary beverages.

SUMMARY: Sodas and sweet drinks are high in carbs, which increase blood sugar. Also, their high fructose content has been linked to insulin resistance and an increased risk of obesity, fatty liver and other diseases.

2. Trans Fats

Industrial trans fats are extremely unhealthy.

They are created by adding hydrogen to unsaturated fatty acids in order to make them more stable.

Trans fats are found in margarines, peanut butter, spreads, creamers and frozen dinners. In addition, food manufacturers often add them to crackers, muffins and other baked goods to help extend shelf life.

Although trans fats don’t directly raise blood sugar levels, they’ve been linked to increased inflammation, insulin resistance and belly fat, as well as lower “good” HDL cholesterol levels and impaired arterial function (111213141516).

These effects are especially concerning for people with diabetes, as they are at an increased risk of heart disease.

Fortunately, trans fats have been outlawed in most countries, and in 2015 the FDA called for their removal from products in the US market to be completed within three years (17).

Until trans fats are no longer in the food supply, avoid any product that contains the words “partially hydrogenated” in its ingredient list.

SUMMARY: Trans fats are unsaturated fats that have been chemically altered to increase their stability. They have been linked to inflammation, insulin resistance, increased belly fat and heart disease.

3. White Bread, Pasta and Rice

White bread, rice and pasta are high-carb, processed foods.

Eating bread, bagels and other refined-flour foods has been shown to significantly increase blood sugar levels in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes (1819).

And this response isn’t exclusive to wheat products. In one study, gluten-free pastas were also shown to raise blood sugar, with rice-based types having the greatest effect (20).

Another study found that a meal containing a high-carb bagel not only raised blood sugar but also decreased brain function in people with type 2 diabetes and mental deficits (21).

These processed foods contain little fiber, which helps slow down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.

In another study, replacing white bread with high-fiber bread was shown to significantly reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. In addition, they experienced reductions in cholesterol and blood pressure (22).

SUMMARY: White bread, pasta and rice are high in carbs yet low in fiber. This combination can result in high blood sugar levels. Alternatively, choosing high-fiber, whole foods may help reduce blood sugar response.

4. Fruit-Flavored Yogurt

Plain yogurt can be a good option for people with diabetes. However, fruit-flavored varieties are a very different story.

Flavored yogurts are typically made from non-fat or low-fat milk and loaded with carbs and sugar.

In fact, a one-cup (245-gram) serving of fruit-flavored yogurt may contain 47 grams of sugar, meaning nearly 81% of its calories come from sugar (23).

Many people consider frozen yogurt to be a healthy alternative to ice cream. However, it can contain just as much or even more sugar than ice cream (2425).

Rather than choosing high-sugar yogurts that can spike your blood sugar and insulin, opt for plain, whole-milk yogurt that contains no sugar and may be beneficial for your appetite, weight control and gut health (2627).

SUMMARY: Fruit-flavored yogurts are usually low in fat but high in sugar, which can lead to higher blood sugar and insulin levels. Plain, whole-milk yogurt is a better choice for diabetes control and overall health.

5. Sweetened Breakfast Cereals

Eating cereal is one of the worst ways to start your day if you have diabetes.

Despite the health claims on their boxes, most cereals are highly processed and contain far more carbs than many people realize.

In addition, they provide very little protein, a nutrient that can help you feel full and satisfied while keeping your blood sugar levels stable during the day (28).

Even “healthy” breakfast cereals aren’t good choices for those with diabetes.

For instance, just a half-cup serving (55 grams) of granola cereal contains 30 grams of digestible carbs, and Grape Nuts contain 41 grams. What’s more, each provides only 7 grams of protein per serving (2930).

To keep blood sugar and hunger under control, skip the cereal and choose a protein-based low-carb breakfast instead.

SUMMARY: Breakfast cereals are high in carbs but low in protein. A high-protein, low-carb breakfast is the best option for diabetes and appetite control.

6. Flavored Coffee Drinks

Coffee has been linked to several health benefits, including a reduced risk of diabetes (313233).

However, flavored coffee drinks should be viewed as a liquid dessert, rather than a healthy beverage.

Studies have shown your brain doesn’t process liquid and solid foods similarly. When you drink calories, you don’t compensate by eating less later, potentially leading to weight gain (3435).

Flavored coffee drinks are also loaded with carbs. Even “light” versions contain enough carbs to significantly raise your blood sugar levels.

For instance, a 16-ounce (454-ml) caramel frappuccino from Starbucks contains 67 grams of carbs, and the same size caramel light frappuccino contains 30 grams of carbs (3637).

To keep your blood sugar under control and prevent weight gain, choose plain coffee or espresso with a tablespoon of heavy cream or half-and-half.

SUMMARY: Flavored coffee drinks are very high in liquid carbs, which can raise blood sugar levels and fail to satisfy your hunger.

7. Honey, Agave Nectar and Maple Syrup

People with diabetes often try to minimize their intake of white table sugar, as well as treats like candy, cookies and pie.

However, other forms of sugar can also cause blood sugar spikes. These include brown sugar and “natural” sugars like honeyagave nectar and maple syrup.

Although these sweeteners aren’t highly processed, they contain at least as many carbs as white sugar. In fact, most contain even more.

Below are the carb counts of a one-tablespoon serving of popular sweeteners:

  • White sugar: 6 grams (38)
  • Agave nectar: 16 grams (39)
  • Honey: 17 grams (40)
  • Maple syrup: 13 grams (41)

In one study, people with prediabetes experienced similar increases in blood sugar, insulin and inflammatory markers regardless of whether they consumed 1.7 ounces (50 grams) of white sugar or honey (42).

Your best strategy is to avoid all forms of sugar and use natural low-carb sweeteners instead.

SUMMARY: Honey, agave nectar and maple syrup are not as processed as white table sugar, but they may have similar effects on blood sugar, insulin and inflammatory markers.

8. Dried Fruit

Fruit is a great source of several important vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and potassium.

When fruit is dried, the process results in a loss of water that leads to even higher concentrations of these nutrients.

Unfortunately, its sugar content becomes more concentrated as well.

One cup of grapes contains 27 grams of carbs, including 1 gram of fiber. By contrast, one cup of raisins contains 115 grams of carbs, 5 of which come from fiber (4344).

Therefore, raisins contain more than three times as many carbs as grapes do. Other types of dried fruit are similarly higher in carbs when compared to fresh fruit.

If you have diabetes, you don’t have to give up fruit altogether. Sticking with low-sugar fruits like fresh berries or a small apple can provide health benefits while keeping your blood sugar in the target range.

SUMMARY: Dried fruits become more concentrated in sugar and may contain more than three times as many carbs as fresh fruits do. Avoid dried fruit and choose fruits low in sugar for optimal blood sugar control.

9. Packaged Snack Foods

Pretzels, crackers and other packaged foods aren’t good snack choices.

They’re typically made with refined flour and provide few nutrients, although they have plenty of fast-digesting carbs that can rapidly raise blood sugar.

Here are the carb counts for a one-ounce (28-gram) serving of some popular snacks:

  • Saltine crackers: 21 grams of carbs, including 1 gram of fiber (45)
  • Pretzels: 22 grams of carbs, including 1 gram of fiber (46)
  • Graham crackers: 21 grams of carbs, including 1 gram of fiber (47)

In fact, some of these foods may contain even more carbs than stated on their nutrition label. One study found that snack foods provide 7.7% more carbs, on average, than the label states (48).

If you get hungry in between meals, it’s better to eat nuts or a few low-carb vegetables with an ounce of cheese.

SUMMARY: Packaged snacks are typically highly processed foods made from refined flour that can quickly raise your blood sugar levels.

10. Fruit Juice

Although fruit juice is often considered a healthy beverage, its effects on blood sugar are actually similar to those of sodas and other sugary drinks.

This goes for unsweetened 100% fruit juice, as well as types that contain added sugar. In some cases, fruit juice is even higher in sugar and carbs than soda.

For example, 8 ounces (250 ml) of unsweetened apple juice and soda contain 24 grams of sugar each. An equivalent serving of grape juice provides 32 grams of sugar (495051).

Like sugar-sweetened beverages, fruit juice is loaded with fructose, the type of sugar that drives insulin resistance, obesity and heart disease (52).

A much better alternative is to enjoy water with a wedge of lemon, which provides less than 1 gram of carbs and is virtually calorie-free (53).

SUMMARY: Unsweetened fruit juice contains at least as much sugar as sodas do. Its high fructose content can worsen insulin resistance, promote weight gain and increase the risk of heart disease.

11. French Fries

French fries are a food to steer clear of, especially if you have diabetes.

Potatoes themselves are relatively high in carbs. One medium potato with the skin on contains 37 grams of carbs, 4 of which come from fiber (54).

However, once they’ve been peeled and fried in vegetable oil, potatoes may do more than spike your blood sugar.

Deep-frying foods has been shown to produce high amounts of toxic compounds like AGEs and aldehydes, which may promote inflammation and increase the risk of disease (5556).

Indeed, several studies have linked frequently consuming french fries and other fried foods to heart disease and cancer (57585960).

If you don’t want to avoid potatoes altogether, eating a small amount of sweet potatoes is your best option.

SUMMARY: In addition to being high in carbs that raise blood sugar levels, french fries are fried in unhealthy oils that may promote inflammation and increase the risk of heart disease and cancer.

The Bottom Line

Knowing which foods to avoid when you have diabetes can sometimes seem tough. However, following a few guidelines can make it easier.

Your main goals should include staying away from unhealthy fats, liquid sugars, processed grains and other foods that contain refined carbs.

Avoiding foods that increase your blood sugar levels and drive insulin resistance can help keep you healthy now and reduce your risk of future diabetes complications.

To learn about the best foods to eat if you have diabetes, check out this article.


The above article is courtesy of My EZ Health Guide and is intended for informational purposes only.

  • Alma Flecha
    Posted at 02:41h, 19 May

    me interesa esta informacion tomare los consejos

  • Btovar
    Posted at 22:23h, 14 May

    Essential and important info! thank you.

  • Kristin Meschke
    Posted at 02:28h, 10 May


  • Anisha Welch
    Posted at 14:58h, 02 May

    This was definitely a good read and information

  • Kristin Meschke
    Posted at 22:32h, 23 April


  • Charles Respert
    Posted at 14:40h, 10 April

    Great article.! Now, it needs to be followed up with the list of things that can be eaten every day.

  • Kristin Meschke
    Posted at 16:42h, 09 April


  • Roger Moore
    Posted at 15:15h, 09 April


  • Kris Mendez
    Posted at 14:17h, 05 April

    Thank You

  • Dolores Vaneza Guaman
    Posted at 19:13h, 03 April

    A good eye opener – super helpful information
    Thank you

  • carmen roe
    Posted at 22:32h, 02 April

    Learned a lot from this article

  • Kristin Meschke
    Posted at 19:23h, 02 April

    Great info!

  • Joan Jenkins
    Posted at 16:39h, 02 April

    Glad I don’t have diabetes

  • Lisa Bennett
    Posted at 16:25h, 02 April

    Thanks for the information.

  • Angela Lloyd
    Posted at 14:04h, 02 April

    Very informative

  • Gisell Diaz-Alita
    Posted at 22:14h, 01 April

    Such interesting facts now to apply them!

    Posted at 16:33h, 01 April

    I had no idea about the yogurt good to know

  • Ron k. Dotson
    Posted at 12:37h, 01 April

    Really enlightening information

  • David Morris
    Posted at 19:28h, 31 March

    Keeping a low carb diet helps with diabetes.

  • Ericka Harney
    Posted at 20:51h, 30 March

    Thanks for the information

  • Debra Bateson
    Posted at 19:25h, 30 March

    Very interesting article

  • Barb Moury
    Posted at 01:54h, 30 March

    Excellent information

  • Mable Freeman
    Posted at 21:00h, 29 March

    Thank you

  • Kelli welsh
    Posted at 14:26h, 29 March

    Good info

  • Shura I
    Posted at 12:23h, 29 March


  • Angie Prestwood
    Posted at 10:17h, 29 March

    Very good information.

  • Brad Martin
    Posted at 08:40h, 29 March

    Very informative.

  • Nancy
    Posted at 20:17h, 28 March

    Thank you, Patrick!

  • Kara Sherman
    Posted at 17:59h, 28 March

    Great information. Thanks!

  • Steven Sherman
    Posted at 17:56h, 28 March

    I like french fries.

  • Kathryn OHar
    Posted at 17:42h, 28 March

    Thank you.

  • Victor Agunbiade
    Posted at 10:19h, 28 March

    Great read

  • Nestor Konditamde
    Posted at 22:01h, 27 March

    Thank you for sharing

  • Jeff Chadwick
    Posted at 20:20h, 27 March

    No idea that Honey was that bad. Good to know

  • Ruste Harvell
    Posted at 19:24h, 27 March

    Wow all my good things I like are bad didn’t know.

  • Ria Caldwell
    Posted at 19:11h, 27 March

    Thank you, very informative

  • tonia wolfe
    Posted at 16:52h, 27 March

    Very informative and helpful article! Thanks!!

  • Katina cooper
    Posted at 15:55h, 27 March

    Thank you

  • Susan Pourier
    Posted at 14:44h, 27 March

    Very good article, my Mother had diabetes therefore I am always watching what I eat.

  • Matt
    Posted at 14:38h, 27 March

    Very good article. From my experience spot on.

  • Kelly Pitts
    Posted at 13:36h, 27 March

    Very informative. Thank you.

  • Yvonne Lees
    Posted at 13:35h, 27 March

    Great information.

    Posted at 12:59h, 27 March


  • Ramiro Samayoa
    Posted at 12:31h, 27 March

    Very good articles

  • Natalie Jennings
    Posted at 10:44h, 27 March

    Good information

  • Jared Burkholder
    Posted at 10:34h, 27 March

    Thank you

  • Patrick Barthelemy
    Posted at 06:49h, 27 March

    That was some very good and helpful information

  • Patrick Barthelemy
    Posted at 06:48h, 27 March

    Good information

  • Linda
    Posted at 03:19h, 27 March

    Thanks for the information

  • Jennifer Metcalf
    Posted at 02:42h, 27 March

    Very interesting

  • Amanda McCord
    Posted at 02:30h, 27 March

    This is a informative piece it will be helpful for my job

  • Julie Schonhardt
    Posted at 01:49h, 27 March

    Very Informative!

  • Ben H Poitevint
    Posted at 01:46h, 27 March

    Very interesting

  • Jonathan Upholz
    Posted at 01:41h, 27 March

    Trans fats are probably the worst thing possible for the body. Our body is literally
    Unable to get rid of trans fats. It is very hard to find foods with trans fats anymore but they are still out there. Most recently I found it in canned corned beef hash and in certain frozen foods

  • Victoria
    Posted at 00:15h, 27 March

    Thanks…Good Info

  • Stacy
    Posted at 23:45h, 26 March

    Interesting! Didn’t know about the honey!!

  • Laurie Christensen
    Posted at 23:37h, 26 March

    Very Interesting

  • Sherri Moscrop
    Posted at 23:33h, 26 March

    Good info

  • Rudyard Sylveria Baker
    Posted at 23:01h, 26 March

    I am happy for the heads up, thanks

  • James J Rocco
    Posted at 22:50h, 26 March

    Learned more about foods containing sugars. Higher in sugars than I thought were honey and maple syrup, especially the natural dark maple syrup. Also the danger of fried foods like french fries also were surprising in their contribution to potential heart disease.

  • Candice Thomas
    Posted at 22:43h, 26 March

    Great information to know , thank you !

  • Mitch. D.
    Posted at 22:32h, 26 March

    Great article. I need to make better food choices. I need to eat healthier that is for sure.

  • Michelle Grant
    Posted at 22:31h, 26 March

    Good read

  • Stephanie Benjamin
    Posted at 22:23h, 26 March

    Insightful article! Thank you!

  • Hind
    Posted at 21:48h, 26 March


  • Rachelle Gizinski
    Posted at 21:40h, 26 March

    My oh my. What is left to eat.

  • Laurie Lierman
    Posted at 21:20h, 26 March

    Lots of good information,

  • Gary Burke
    Posted at 21:16h, 26 March

    Had a lot of good information

  • Gary Burke
    Posted at 21:15h, 26 March

    It had a lot of good information thanks

  • Matt Ehrman
    Posted at 21:12h, 26 March

    Great article. Very informational!

  • Kevin Klaine
    Posted at 21:11h, 26 March

    Thanks for the information!!!

  • Larry Jackson
    Posted at 20:57h, 26 March

    Copy that. Thanks

  • Erika White
    Posted at 20:56h, 26 March

    Thanks for the info.

  • Elizabeth Fogleman
    Posted at 20:53h, 26 March

    Thank you for citing the studies that back up your information. It’s helpful to have that empirical evidence.

  • Charlene Tucker
    Posted at 20:45h, 26 March


  • Chris Barlow
    Posted at 20:33h, 26 March

    Lots of good information in the article.

  • Danny LaFountain
    Posted at 20:32h, 26 March

    Not sure the info is worth the $$$ of the “optional” Wellness Program

  • Matthew Pritt
    Posted at 20:21h, 26 March

    Interesting stuff, very useful.

  • Eugene Labre
    Posted at 20:21h, 26 March

    Nice summaries

    Posted at 20:08h, 26 March

    Good article

  • David Murray
    Posted at 20:04h, 26 March

    There’s some great stuff in this. My mother in law has diabetes and I pray I never get it. Thanks.

  • Kerrie Bates
    Posted at 20:03h, 26 March

    Good info

  • Andria Airhart
    Posted at 19:53h, 26 March

    Good info!

  • Esther Jun
    Posted at 19:53h, 26 March

    Thank you for the info!

  • Brandi Moran
    Posted at 19:53h, 26 March

    I will have to stay away from some of these foods great article.

  • Esther Jun
    Posted at 19:52h, 26 March

    This is a great article.

  • Deborah Thomas
    Posted at 19:49h, 26 March

    Good article.

  • Serena Phillips
    Posted at 19:42h, 26 March

    Did not know that about yogurt.

  • Kalor Riley
    Posted at 19:42h, 26 March

    Interesting and informative

  • Sedrick King
    Posted at 19:41h, 26 March

    Great information

  • Paul Phelps
    Posted at 19:40h, 26 March

    Good article

  • Shelby York
    Posted at 19:39h, 26 March

    Thank you

  • Brian Bailey
    Posted at 19:39h, 26 March

    This is a very good read. Having been a diabetic for 13 years, I’ve known to watch the refined sugars and a lot friends tell me to go do agave nectar or honey. Ive never believed that they were better for you. I diid look at the sugar substitutes link and don’t. Are for stevia. I use Splenda, which works well for me.

  • Lula M Scott
    Posted at 19:39h, 26 March

    I loved the article, didn’t know my juice was bad for me and I must steer clear of those baked potatoes

  • Danny LaFountain
    Posted at 19:34h, 26 March


    Posted at 19:33h, 26 March


  • Christine Jones
    Posted at 19:33h, 26 March


  • Danny LaFountain
    Posted at 19:33h, 26 March


  • Doyle C wilkins
    Posted at 19:33h, 26 March

    I think this is very helpful information for people near their Sixties.

  • Danny LaFountain
    Posted at 19:33h, 26 March

    Required it

  • Danny LaFountain
    Posted at 19:32h, 26 March

    Read, as required for Wellness prReadogram

  • Danny LaFountain
    Posted at 19:32h, 26 March

    Read, as required for Wellness program

  • Alexander Broderick
    Posted at 19:30h, 26 March

    Good to know, but most of these things should be common sense, however I’ll keep these noted.

  • Lisa Adams
    Posted at 19:28h, 26 March


  • Todd M Smith
    Posted at 19:26h, 26 March

    So basically the KETOGENIC DIET IS the best thing that you can do for your health

  • Lisa Warren
    Posted at 19:24h, 26 March

    Good article. My husband is a diabetic and I’m always looking for tips.

  • Michael Milner
    Posted at 19:24h, 26 March


  • Tammy White
    Posted at 19:20h, 26 March

    Very informative

  • Sherri Daily
    Posted at 19:14h, 26 March

    Wow – what a great article and scary how much out there is so bad for us 🙁

  • Howie Thompson
    Posted at 19:11h, 26 March

    Thank you

  • Aaryn Crosby
    Posted at 19:11h, 26 March


  • Jean Farrell
    Posted at 19:11h, 26 March

    Very informative

  • Brandy Chandler
    Posted at 19:09h, 26 March

    Very informative

  • Carrie Edwards
    Posted at 19:07h, 26 March

    Good read

  • Stephanie Arnett
    Posted at 19:06h, 26 March

    Great information!
    Thank you!

  • Brenda L Nicholson
    Posted at 19:03h, 26 March

    Thanks diabetes run in my family

  • Donna Oldaker
    Posted at 19:03h, 26 March

    Great information.

  • Julie McClung
    Posted at 19:02h, 26 March

    Thank you for the info!

  • Jordan
    Posted at 19:02h, 26 March

    Great read

  • Porsha Elle Sade Ali
    Posted at 19:01h, 26 March

    Good read. Lots of valuable information

  • Kristi Harris
    Posted at 19:00h, 26 March

    This is a great article. My husband was diagnosed with Diabetes and it is hard to balance his diet and blood sugar level, and help him maintain a decent weight. This article is very beneficial. I appreciate it and will take this into account when cooking, grocery shopping, and meal prep.

  • Vicki Bredthauer
    Posted at 13:09h, 26 March


  • Shannon Purdy
    Posted at 11:20h, 26 March

    Thank you for this article, being diabetics it was very helpful.