Diabetes: Two white foods to avoid that can ‘easily increase blood sugar levels’ – doctor

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Your blood sugar levels, also known as blood glucose levels, are a measurement that show how much glucose you have in your blood. Hyperglycaemia is not the same as hypoglycaemia, which is when a person’s blood sugar level drops too low. Hyperglycaemia can be potentially dangerous if blood sugar levels become very high or stay high for long periods.

Diabetes UK says: “Your blood sugar levels go up and down throughout the day and for people living with diabetes these changes are larger and happen more often than in people who don’t have diabetes.”

Hyperglycaemia can affect people with type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, as well as pregnant women with gestational diabetes.

Hyperglycaemia, or a hyper, can happen when your blood glucose (sugar) levels are too high – usually above 7mmol/l before a meal and above 8.5mmol/l two hours after a meal.

GP Doctor Sally Roxburgh from The Fleet Street Clinic said that it is important for those with type 2 diabetes to control their sugar intake as well as control their weight, portion sizes, and calorie intake.

“Getting enough exercise and lifestyle choices are equally important,” said the doctor.

“There are certain foods that should be avoided if you have type 2 diabetes, while other foods should be consumed in moderation.”

She added: “All carbohydrates put blood sugar up and it is, therefore, important to choose the right ones.”

According to the doc, these are ones that release sugar into the bloodstream “in a slow and measured way”.

She suggested that white bread and white rice can be highly processed and more easily increase blood sugar levels, “whereas their high fibre wholegrain/brown alternatives are absorbed much slower”.

She added: “Snacks made from wholegrains are a good addition to the diet. Potatoes are very high in carbs so aren’t usually counted as one of your five a day but if you want to eat potatoes, then new potatoes are better than old potatoes as they contain less starch.”

Doctor Sally said that particular foods to avoid for those with type 2 diabetes are foods that contain refined sugar such as cakes, sweets, fizzy drinks and energy drinks.

She said: “It is also best to try to avoid adding sugar to your drinks such as in your tea or coffee. Similarly, alcohol should be limited as it is calorific and high in sugar.”

There are also some breakfast foods to be cautious of, suggested the doctor. She said: “It’s important to be aware that some foods, such as breakfast cereals, are higher in sugar than you may realise and alternatives like porridge oats and wholegrain cereals are a better option.

“Other breakfast foods that should be avoided are fruit juice and smoothies as they can put blood sugar up very quickly.

“Fruit in general can be consumed and I would never recommend excluding any fruit totally because of the nutritional value that fruit contains, however, there are certain fruits that I would recommend over others for someone with type 2 diabetes.

“For example, berries or an apple rather than pineapple, oranges or bananas. Tinned fruit, however, I would avoid as it is kept in a high-sugar syrup.”

The doc noted that type 1 diabetes is different to type 2 diabetes as a regular dose of insulin helps sugar to be absorbed.

She said: “My recommendation for those with type 1 diabetes is to eat a healthy, broad-based diet. It is also a good idea to have some carbs with all your meals as, without them, your insulin may make your blood sugar too low and lead to hypos.

“I also suggest keeping alcohol to within 14 units weekly with three or four days off drinking, and avoid alcohol on an empty stomach as this can also lead to hypos.”

In people with diabetes, hyperglycaemia can be triggered by stress, being ill, not getting enough exercise or eating too much.

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