4 Common Breakfast Foods Diabetics Should Avoid
Diabetes is a chronic condition affecting an estimated 30.3 million Americans, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. And once you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s critical that you manage the condition and adjust your diet. Choosing the right foods can keep your diabetes under control.
But it can be tough to make good lifestyle choices. Small changes, like what you choose to eat for breakfast, can have a big effect on your diabetes and your health.
If you’re wondering how you can make better choices after being diagnosed with diabetes, try starting with breakfast. Your very first meal of the day can set you up for success later on – here are the foods you need to avoid, and what you can replace them with.
Breakfast Foods Diabetics Need to Avoid
Eating breakfast is important for any health diet – but it’s especially important for anyone with diabetes. If a diabetic skips breakfast, it can make it more difficult to keep blood sugar under control throughout the day.
According to ABC News, skipping breakfast even once every week can increase your risk of diabetes. When you skip a meal, your body will release stored sugar into your bloodstream. And that can affect how well you’re able to manage your diabetes.
While eating breakfast is important, some of the most common breakfast foods are actually bad for diabetics. So, when you’re reaching for breakfast in the morning, it’s important that you avoid the following four choices.
Drinking fruit juice with breakfast might sound like a healthy choice. After all, it’s fruit-based – so it might offer some health benefits.
However, pouring a glass of fruit juice is like cracking open a can of soda for breakfast. In fact, fruit juice even has a similar effect on your blood sugar to other sugary drinks like sodas.
Even 100 percent unsweetened juice can have as much sugar as a soda – and some have more. Fruit juice also has a high amount of carbohydrates, which are problematic for diabetics. And, to make matters worse, fruit juice contains fructose, which is a natural fruit sugar. This might not be bad on its own, but when fruit is blended to make juice, the amount of fructose in the juice is concentrated, introducing more sugar into your bloodstream.
Processed meats such as pork sausage or bacon are popular breakfast foods. They’re often served as a side dish, and it’s almost impossible to separate a dish of scrambled eggs from a side of bacon or sausage.
However, while the protein processed meats provide might sound beneficial, these foods do more harm than good. While processed meats won’t add extra carbohydrates to your breakfast, they can make a meal extremely unhealthy.
Processed breakfast meats can add too many calories to your diet – particularly calories from fat. As much as 68 percent of the calories of bacon are calories from fat, meaning this protein is giving you a huge dose of extra fat rather than filling protein. Over time, this can increase your weight, which can be linked to your diabetes management and overall health.
Anyone who’s living with diabetes needs to be cautious of how much sugar they’re consuming. And overall, it’s a good idea to avoid sugar as much as possible.
Since your body is unable to regulate the amount of sugar in your blood very well when you have diabetes, adding more sugar can cause your blood sugar level to spike. Eating sugary foods first thing in the morning, or adding sugar to your morning beverages, will set you up for blood sugar difficulties later on.
Sweetened Breakfast Cereals
Sweetened breakfast cereals contain both a high amount of sugar as well as high concentrations of carbohydrates. These are two problematic ingredients for anyone with diabetes.
Most breakfast cereals are also highly processed and do not provide you with much protein. When you eat sweetened breakfast cereals, you will likely feel hungry within an hour or two of finishing breakfast. To help control your blood sugar and your hunger, it is better for you to opt for a healthy protein for your breakfast instead of cereal.
Healthy Breakfast Options for Diabetics
If your favorite breakfast foods are on the above list, it’s time to make some changes to your morning routine. Eliminating those foods from your diet can help you better manage your overall health and your diabetes.
Fortunately, switching from bad-for-you foods to better options doesn’t have to be tough. There are plenty of great alternatives for breakfast foods that are better for people who have diabetes.
The following three options can help you replace unhealthy foods with good-for-you choices.
According to the Mayo Clinic, getting more fiber can help people with diabetes by slowing the absorption of sugar and helping to control blood sugar levels.
Soluble fiber is especially beneficial for diabetics. And this type of fiber can be found in whole grains, legumes, nuts, vegetables, and fruit. If you start your day with a healthy dose of soluble fiber, you’ll help keep your blood sugar levels from spiking and you should feel fuller for longer.
Some breakfast choices that can help you get more fiber in your diet include 100 percent whole-grain English muffins or toast, oatmeal, and unsweetened bran cereal. If you choose oatmeal, try sweetening it by topping it with berries and add some walnuts for some added fiber and nutrition.
Instead of frying sausage or bacon for breakfast, choose lean protein. Unlike traditional processed meats eaten with breakfast, lean protein options can help you to manage your weight while also helping you to control your blood sugar.
Lean proteins can be just as – if not more – filling as breakfast favorites like bacon and sausage. However, these proteins tend to have less fat and fewer calories, two factors that are important for diabetics.
Some examples of healthy proteins you can choose include eggs, natural peanut butter, nuts, and soy or almond milk. You can also opt for skim or 1 percent milk for some extra protein without all of the fat.
While you might not think vegetables should play a major role at breakfast time, eating some vegetables in the morning can give you more fiber, vitamins, and minerals. And all three of these important dietary components are essential for your health.
There are plenty of easy ways for you to add a serving of vegetables to your breakfast. You can add onions, mushrooms, and spinach to an egg omelet, for example. You can mix your favorite veggies into scrambled eggs, or you can add them as toppings to avocado toast.
Diabetics: A Better Breakfast Can Set You Up for Success
Making better nutritional choices at breakfast time can help you to manage and control your diabetes. Eating the right foods for breakfast can help you have more energy. But, more importantly, the right foods can also help you control your weight and your blood sugar level.
To learn more about healthy foods and lifestyle changes that can help you to manage your diabetes, you can conduct further research. Search online for healthy alternatives to your favorite breakfast foods. You can also look for quick and easy breakfast ideas that include the good foods mentioned here. With more information and knowledge of the best good-for-you foods, you can start incorporating changes into your morning routine today.