9 Processed Foods People with Diabetes Should Avoid

If you have diabetes there are certain foods you might have been told to avoid. Maybe you love grapes, but worry they’ll send your blood sugar through the roof. Or perhaps brownies are your absolute favorite dessert, but you’ve given them up because all. That. Sugar.

However, if you’ve been living with the condition for a substantial length of time, you’ve likely been able to find a middle ground that’s achievable without driving you crazy and forcing you to miss out on all the things you love most. You’ve probably realized that you can, and should, still eat fruit because it’s an important part of a healthy diet, as it’s loaded with essential vitamins and minerals. You’ve likely even found an awesome diabetic-friendly brownie recipe that you pull out for special occasions. Because, seriously. Who can go their whole life without a brownie?

But the fact remains: there are certain foods everyone should avoid, but are of particular concern for people with diabetes. And, unfortunately, they’re often the most readily available and convenient option. What are they?

Processed foods. No, not all processed foods. We’re not talking about the wholesome foods we eat that have undergone some form of processing, like spinach that has been plucked and bagged, roasted nuts, or even canned tuna. We’re talking about heavily processed foods that have all sorts of hidden ingredients intended to either preserve the food or add flavor. Foods that no longer resemble, in nutrition, taste, or even appearance, what they once were.

While some of these foods are tasty, many are also a nutritional nightmare. Those that fall on the “highly processed” end of the spectrum are generally high in saturated fat, trans fats, sodium, carbohydrates, calories, and sugar. That being said, even though you might spot some foods you really love on the list below, there are plenty of healthy alternatives that are easy to make and cost effective. Take a look!

9. Granola Bars

These “wholesome” bars are a lunchbox staple. They’re delicious and easy to grab on the go. Unfortunately, they’re also loaded with sugar and carbs. If you’re looking for a healthy on-the-go snack, consider tossing a serving of almonds, cashews, or walnuts in a baggie and leaving them in your car, purse, or desk at work. Almonds and cashews are believed to have anti-hyperglycemic effects, and research shows that walnuts help lower LDL cholesterol.

Granola Bars

8. Frozen Dinners

Convenient? Sure. Plus, usually they seem pretty balanced. However, they’re loaded with all sorts of additives, like sodium and sugar. Plus, they’re generally high in fat and calories. Try meal prepping at the beginning of the week, so all you have to do for dinner is throw some lean chicken and a bunch of cut veggies onto a single pan and bake. This works perfectly on a night you know you’re going to be strapped for time. Or, if you’re really in a pinch, head to the organic section of your grocery store’s frozen isle. They usually have a variety of healthier options with fewer ingredients you don’t recognize.

pepperoni pizza


L.D. and her eleven-year-old lab, Eleanor Rigby Fitzgerald, moved from Seattle to Grand Rapids earlier this year, and are currently enjoying exploring their new city! She likes books, music, movies, running, and being outdoors as much as possible.

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