Foods to Avoid in Diabetes to Keep Your Sugar in Control

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Subhanshu Gupta, MBBS, MD, 11 Years of Experience March 6, 2024

Last updated on October 30th, 2023

Studies have found there is a huge role for diet to play in diabetes management. In 2018 alone, 70% of diabetes cases that year emerged due to people choosing the wrong diet. People with diabetes can have all types of foods and drinks, but to some extent only. They need to count their calorie intake. It helps them to prevent the change in their blood glucose levels. It can be daunting to know what foods to avoid for diabetes. However, following the diabetes diet or help from a dietician can serve you the purpose of choosing the right kind of food for diabetic patients. Read this blog to learn about “What foods to avoid with diabetes?”

Your main goal should include staying away from unhealthy fats, processed foods, and food that contains refined carbs. Avoid foods that increase your blood sugar levels and drive insulin resistance. It will keep you healthy, reduce the risk of developing diabetes, and prevent the worsening of its related complications. Moreover, having diabetes doubles your chances of having heart disorders. Read this blog to learn about food to avoid high blood sugar or diabetes.

The kind of food and drinks you consume determine your blood glucose levels. Consuming carbohydrate-rich foods and beverages leads to higher blood sugar levels and ultimately causes diabetes. Therefore, it is crucial for people with diabetes to choose their foods and drinks wisely. They need to look for foods to avoid diabetes. It helps them to control the amount of carbohydrate intake and maintain their blood glucose levels. Balancing your diet helps in improving diabetes and related complications.

Consult a Dietician Before Changing Your Diet

It is important to eat cautiously to keep your blood sugar levels in control. Certain foods can increase your blood sugar levels drastically. They can lead to chronic inflammation, heart attack, or kidney damage. Therefore, you need to manage your diet and need to know more about food for diabetic patients. Some foods that are good for one diabetes patient may not be suitable for you. Instead of modifying your diet, you should take a consultation. They help you prepare a list or chart of foods to avoid high blood sugar.

Read More: How to Stop Sugar Craving Naturally?

Diabetic Diet Chart

Diabetes is a lifestyle disorder that causes an increase in the blood sugar levels of a person. Some symptoms of diabetes are Weight loss, fatigue, frequent urination, blurred vision, etc.  Follow a diabetic diet to keep your diabetes and its symptoms under control. Some foods help control diabetes and prevent its complications. Such a diet includes leafy vegetables, cinnamon, nuts, whole grains, high-fibre-rich foods, and some fruits.

List of Top 10 Foods to Avoid in Diabetes


Many food items are responsible for increasing blood sugar levels. Therefore, people with diabetes type-2 or type-1 should carefully choose their food. They should look for foods that have low carbohydrates and high fibre content. Such foods take more time to digest. Thus, they give time to your body to effectively use the blood sugar for energy. Find out the best diabetic meal plan to keep your blood sugar levels in control. You can consult a doctor or dietician to prepare the one for you.

Well, it is easier to choose what to eat rather than identify what not to eat. It is the reason why many people fail to control their diabetes. They eat well, but sometimes, they end up eating all those food items that lead to sugar spikes. It is also surprising to know that sugar is not the only thing to control diabetes. Consuming lots of carbs, calories, sodium, and fat also causes uncontrolled blood sugar levels.

Read More: Can Intermittent Fasting Benefit People with Diabetes?

Here Is A List Of 10 Foods Diabetics Should Avoid

There are some food to avoid for sugar patients. These foods are of nutrient profile which is not all suitable for diabetes. One of the main reasons that these foods to avoid with high blood sugar patients is that they cause a sugar spike after consumption. In diabetes already, the sugar levels are on the higher side rapid spikes like these could be very harmful for them. These foods are somewhat answers to what not to eat in diabetes. So, the following are the foods to be avoided in diabetes.

10 Foods to Avoid in Diabetes

1. Dried Fruits

No doubt, fruits are the best source of vitamins and minerals that keep you healthy. You should eat certain fruits with a low glycemic index to keep diabetes in control. However, the water is lost on drying the fruits, and the concentration of nutrients becomes higher. Along with this, the sugar content also gets higher, making them the fruits to avoid in diabetes. It increases the risk of an increase in blood sugar when you eat it.

2. Trans-fat

Trans-fats are unsaturated fat that comes in both natural and unnatural forms. In natural form, animals and animal products contain trans-fats that do not impact your health. In an unnatural form, hydrogenated vegetable oil contains trans-fat. This type of fat increases cholesterol levels and increases the risk of heart disease. People with diabetes should strictly avoid trans-fat. It increases insulin resistance and impaired arterial function, causing the risk of heart disease.

3. High Carb Foods

Another category of food in the list of diabetes food to avoid are high carb foods. It is the carbohydrates from your food that break down into blood glucose. Consuming high-carb foods increases your blood glucose levels. Bread, potato, muffins, cakes, cookies, pasta, burger, chips, rice, corn, sweetened yogurt, and French fries are some of the high-carb foods. Doctors and dieticians recommend high-carb foods to avoid high blood sugar.

4. Processed Foods

Some foods are processed to make them edible and shelf-stable. Such processed foods contain unhealthy levels of fats, sugar, and sodium. They also lack nutritional value as most of the nutrients get removed during the processing, becoming another type of diabetes food to avoid. Most processed foods have zero fiber content; therefore, they are calorie-dense. It consequently increases blood sugar levels. Thus, people with diabetes should avoid processed foods.

5. Refined or White Sugar

Sugary foods, sweets, and desserts constitute sugar and high carbs. Generally, they do not add nutritional value to your diet but increase your blood sugar levels. Foods containing high sugar content include donuts, candy bars, chocolate, maple syrup, desserts, fruit-flavored yogurts, etc. Adding refined sugar to your food items as a sweetener directly affects your blood sugar levels. Therefore, look for a healthy sugar substitute as a sweetener, as refined or white sugar is one of the diabetes food to avoid.

6. Starchy Vegetables

Vegetables for diabetics to avoid are potato, sweet potato, beetroot, etc. Though they are a good source of fiber, they are high in starch. The higher amount of starch makes such vegetables rich in carbohydrates and sugar. Consuming these vegetables increases the risk of high blood sugar. Frying these vegetables in oil adds more calories, making them foods to avoid with diabetes. It also makes them more dangerous for people with diabetes. If they are consuming starchy vegetables, they need to be strict with their portion.

7. High-protein Foods

Just like vegetables for diabetics to avoid, there are certain protein foods that need to be avoided. Protein is an essential macronutrient that the human body needs. The body needs protein to build and repair muscles and maintain vital body functions. Lean protein and plant-based protein are healthy for people with diabetes. However, animal-derived proteins contain unsaturated fats that increase blood sugar levels. Animal-derived high-protein foods like chicken, beef and pork have low fiber, making them type of foods to avoid with diabetes.

8. Dairy Products

All dairy products contain calcium, proteins, and vitamins that keep you healthy. However, dairy products are not the best food for diabetes control as they contain a sugar called lactose. The lactose breaks down into lactic acid. Higher levels of lactic acid in your body increase the risk of lactic acidosis. People with diabetes should avoid dairy products with high-fat content. It increases the risk of heart disease.

9. Frozen Foods

Frozen foods are convenient but contain high sodium and fat content and are certainly not the best food for diabetes control. The use of preservatives in frozen foods also makes them unsuitable for people with high blood sugar levels. When you buy frozen foods, make sure to pick the frozen foods with fewer calories. You can also match the carbohydrate content with your daily carb requirement. If you want, you can freeze the veggies and fruits that will contain more antioxidants and fiber as frozen foods are at the top of the list of type 2 diabetes foods to avoid.

10. Bakery Products

Type 2 diabetes foods to avoid also include bakery products. Refined flour is the main ingredient of all bakery products. In addition to this, they contain white sugar or maple syrup as a sweetener. It adds more calories to bakery products and makes them unsuitable for people with diabetes. Bakery items like cakes, pastries, cookies, biscuits, cinnamon rolls, etc., cause insulin resistance and lead to diabetes. Bakery products have side effects for diabetics.

Read More: 15 Foods To Lower Blood Sugar Levels

Drinks to Avoid When You Have Diabetes

Drinks to avoid in diabetes

Drinks to avoid in Diabetes


Consuming pure fruit juices in moderation is fine for people with diabetes. All the fruits contain carbohydrates with a rich amount of fibre. When fruits are juiced, their fibre gets separated. Hence, fruit juices only contain carbohydrates, which can increase your blood sugar levels. People with diabetes should strictly avoid packed fruit juices. They contain artificial sweeteners and preservatives that spike diabetes.

When it comes to selecting drinks, people with diabetes should make a wise choice. It keeps them away from calorie intake and prevents sudden sugar spikes. Even flavoured water can lead to an increase in your blood sugar levels. Therefore, you need to be cautious when choosing a drink for you. Here is a list of drinks that people with diabetes should avoid:

1. Regular or Diet Soda

Regular soda and diet soda drinks contain sugar, artificial sweeteners, flavouring agents, and preservatives. They also have a high amount of carbohydrates and calories. Therefore, consuming such drinks increases your blood sugar levels. Within 10 minutes of drinking a glass of soda, around ten spoons of sugar hit your system. People with diabetes should avoid regular or diet soda to prevent diabetes and its related complications.

2. Energy Drinks

Energy drinks from various brands are available in the market that claims to give you instant energy. Well, the fact is energy drinks contain caffeine and carbohydrates in high amounts. They increase your blood glucose levels and cause insulin resistance in your body. It increases your blood sugar levels and causes diabetes type-2. Therefore, you need to avoid energy drinks if you have  diabetes.

3. Fruit Juices

Consuming pure fruit juices in moderation is fine for people with diabetes. All the fruits contain carbohydrates with a rich amount of fibre. The extraction of juice from fruits leads to the separation of fibre content from fruits. Hence, fruit juices only contain carbohydrates, which can increase your blood sugar levels. People with diabetes should strictly avoid packed fruit juices. They contain artificial sweeteners and preservatives that kick up diabetes.

4. Alcoholic Beverages

Alcohol or alcoholic beverages can worsen the complications due to diabetes, like nerve damage. Alcohol can drop your blood sugar levels within a few hours of consuming alcohol or alcoholic beverages. People with diabetes type-2 taking insulin or diabetes medications should avoid alcoholic beverages. Otherwise, it can lead to hypoglycemia.

5. Sports Drinks

Sports drinks are typically high in sugars, which can lead to rapid spikes in blood glucose levels. Examples of sports drinks in India include Gatorade, Powerade, and Electrolyte drinks. The excess sugar in these drinks can disrupt blood sugar control and pose a risk to individuals with diabetes. Instead, it’s advisable to opt for sugar-free or low-carb electrolyte replacements and hydrate with water during physical activity to help maintain stable blood sugar levels and overall health.

Read More: Top 6 Dry Fruits For Diabetics.

10 Foods That Cause Diabetes

90 to 95% of cases of diabetes are type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is primarily influenced by lifestyle factors. These factors majorly include unhealthy eating and consumption of high-sugar, fried and processed foods. Actually, these are foods to avoid for sugar patient and non-diabetics with increased risks of diabetes. So these are answers to ‘what not to eat in diabetes’. While specific foods themselves do not directly cause diabetes. However, unregulated and irrational eating habits of these foods can definitely lead to full-scale type 2 diabetes. So here are the top 10 foods that cause diabetes:


Mithais have high sugar content and glycemic index. Moreover, the majority of sweets are made of full-fat milk products like khoya and chena, which are also not good for diabetes patients. So, they are the top foods to be avoided in diabetes.

Cakes and Pastries

All bakery products like cakes, pastries, cookies and biscuits are made of refined sugar and flour, which spike your blood sugar.

Pulpy fruits

Pulpy fruits, like mangoes, pineapples, etc., have high sugar content. So, they are food to avoid for sugar patients and individuals looking to reduce the risk of diabetes.

Oil and ghee

Diets having high amounts of saturated and trans fats are good. These are present in processed and fried food items and can heighten the risk of insulin resistance. Fried foods and streets are prime examples.

Animal fats

Animal fats are rich in protein, but they also contain saturated fats and are acidic. So, they are among the 10 foods that cause diabetes.

Dairy Products

Full-fat dairy products like cream, paneer, and full-fat milk contain IGF molecules. These IGF molecules disturb insulin secretion. So, they are foods to avoid with high blood sugar patients.

Starchy Veggies

Starchy veggies like potatoes and sweet potatoes increase blood sugar spikes. Therefore, they categorise it as avoid food for sugar patient.

Aerated Drinks

All the aerated drinks increase sugar levels in your body. Regular consumption can lead to diabetes.

Fruit juices

Fruit juices are marketed as healthy drinks, but the reality is something else. These fruit juices are loaded with sugar and preservatives. And can lead to diabetes in the long run.

Frozen Products

Frozen products are among the food to avoid for sugar patients as they also contribute to diabetes.

Read More: Best Vegetable with Low Glycemic Index for Diabetics.

Foods to Control Diabetes

Controlling diabetes often involves managing blood sugar levels through a balanced diet. The importance of diet is paramount for controlling diabetes. Here are some foods to control diabetes:

  1. Leafy Greens: Green veggies that are high in fiber, like spinach, kale, and collard greens are affluent in nutrients and low in carbohydrates.
  2. Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are packed with antioxidants and fiber.
  3. Whole Grains: Choose whole grains like oats, quinoa, and brown rice over refined grains.
  4. Lean Proteins: Go for plant-based protein sources like tofu, soymilk, and almond milk. These are good sources of protein and are foods to control diabetes.
  5. Legumes: Lentils, chickpeas, and beans are high in fiber and protein. Replace grain flour with lentil flour. Lentil flours are easy to digest and don’t cause sugar spikes. So these become foods to control diabetes.
  6. Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, and chia seeds provide healthy fats and fiber.
  7. Non-Starchy Veggies: Broccoli, cauliflower, and bell peppers are low in carbs and calories. These veggies are considered top foods to control diabetes.
  8. Spices like cinnamon: Some studies suggest it may help improve insulin sensitivity.

Remember, portion control and monitoring sugar levels are necessary. We also advise consulting your diabetologist or dietitian for a personalised diabetes management strategy.

Read More: Is Apricot Good for Diabetics?

How Many Carbs Should One Have Per Day To Control Diabetes?

Dietary carbohydrate intake for individuals with diabetes should be carefully managed to help maintain stable blood sugar levels. However, the specific daily carbohydrate requirements can vary based on factors such as age, activity level, and individual health goals. Here are some general guidelines for men, women, and elderly individuals with diabetes:


Men with diabetes typically require more carbohydrates than women due to their higher-calorie needs. A balanced diet for men with diabetes might consist of about 45-60 grams of carbohydrates per meal and 15-30 grams per snack.

Total daily carbohydrate intake for men may range from 26% of your 2000-calorie daily diet to less than 130 g, but individual variations can be significant.


Women with diabetes often have lower calorie requirements compared to men. A typical carbohydrate intake may range from 30-45 grams per meal and 15-30 grams per snack.

Total daily carbohydrate intake for women may fall between 120 to 130 grams.

Elderly People:

Elderly individuals with diabetes may have lower energy expenditure and lower carbohydrate tolerance due to age-related changes in metabolism. They might require similar amounts as women, with a range of 30-45 grams per meal and 15-30 grams per snack.

Total daily carbohydrate intake for elderly people with diabetes typically aligns with the guidelines for women, ranging from 120 to 130 grams.

It’s essential for individuals with diabetes to work with a registered dietitian or healthcare professional to determine their specific carbohydrate needs.

At Breathe Well-being, you get some best-in-class diabetologists and health coaches who determine your carbs, protein and other nutritional requirements and curate a customized diet plan for effective diabetes management.

Additionally, focusing on complex carbohydrates with a lower glycemic index, along with regular monitoring of blood glucose levels, can contribute to better diabetes management.

Read More: Indian Diet for Diabetes Reversal.


What we cannot eat with diabetes?

For a diabetes patient, what not to eat in diabetes or what to avoid in diabetes exceeds what to eat in diabetes. So, the following is the list of foods to avoid:

  • Bread
  • Cakes and pastries
  • Cookies and sugary biscuits
  • White foods like rice, loaf, etc.
  • Meat, pork, beef, and fish
  • Milk, curd, cheese, paneer, ghee, etc.
  • Mangoes
  • Cherries
  • Pineapple

What to avoid in diabetes?

Dietary management is a top thing to do in diabetes management. The following are food to avoid for sugar patients:

  • High glycemic foods
  • Foods rich in refined carbs
  • Sugary foods
  • Foods loaded with saturated and trans fats
  • Animal fat sources
  • Dairy-based products

What fruits should diabetics avoid?

 To answer the question of what fruits to avoid with diabetes is tricky. However, diabetes patients should definitely avoid high glycemic fruits that have high sugar content. Some fruits which are to be avoided include:

  • Mangoes
  • Melons
  • Pineapples
  • Ripen jackfruit
  • Grapefruits
  • Bananas
  • Cherries

What foods should diabetics avoid?

Foods to be avoided in diabetes include foods rich in simple carbs and saturated fats. Also, you should avoid high-GI foods as they cause sugar spikes in the bloodstream.

What foods are bad for diabetics?

Foods that cause blood sugar spikes have high sugar content and high GI scores, which are bad for diabetes patients.

What 10 foods should diabetics avoid?

The top 10 foods to be avoided in diabetes are:

  • Sweets
  • Desserts
  • Cakes
  • High GI foods
  • Fruit juices
  • Saturated fats
  • Processed foods
  • Frozen foods
  • Refined flour
  • High sodium foods

List of foods diabetics should not eat?

What not to eat in diabetes exceeds the list of foods to eat. So here is the list of food to avoid for sugar patients:

  • Refined flour products
  • Sugary products
  • High glycemic foods
  • Processed meats
  • Dairy products
  • Animal fats

What are high sugar foods to avoid diabetes?

In foods to be avoided in diabetes, high-sugar foods come on the top. High-sugar foods are:

  • Mithai
  • Cakes
  • Pastries
  • Biscuits
  • Cookies
  • High glycemic fruits
  • Desserts
  • Drinks like cooldrinks, energy drinks and juices

What are high carb foods to avoid for diabetics?

The list of high carb food to avoid for sugar patients include the following:

  • White rice
  • Wheat
  • Cereals
  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • Noodles
  • Sweet wine
  • Beers

Can I control diabetes type-2 with diet management only?

Diet management is a crucial aspect of diabetes control. Initially, you may see a drop in your blood sugar levels; however, you will not continue for long. It requires a lot of dedication to control diet for a long time. You may end up eating more and consuming more carbs. Therefore, you gradually need to switch your body to diet management. It will help you to get the results for the long term. Exercising and diabetes medications are also essential to control diabetes.

Are fruits the best substitute for sweets for people with diabetes?

A lot of people with diabetes crave sweets. Fruits are the best substitute for their sweet cravings. Though fruits also contain carbs, they are the source of healthy carbs. The primary sugar in fruits is fructose that does not increase blood sugar levels. Therefore, eating fruits in diabetes is good for your health. However, you need to look for fruits with a low glycaemic index to prevent sugar spikes.

Can I reverse my diabetes type-2 by controlling carbohydrate intake or eating healthy?

No. There is no way to reverse your diabetes type-2. However, with diet management and eating healthy, you can keep your blood sugar levels in control. Severely restricting carbohydrates in your diet can prevent your body from getting essential nutrients. It can make you sick and weak. Also, you cannot do it for a longer time. Therefore, you need to control carbohydrate intake and eat healthy to manage blood sugar levels.

Do people with diabetes should follow a low-carb diet?

It is the carbohydrates from your food that breaks down into glucose. Eating too many carbohydrates can increase your blood sugar levels. Therefore, a low-carb diet is ideal for people with diabetes. A dietician can help you to learn to count carbohydrates in your meals. They can also watch their portion size to limit the intake of carbohydrates. Besides counting carbs and portion control, people with diabetes need to eat high-fibre and low-fat foods.

Is a high protein diet good for diabetes?

People with diabetes without renal diseases can eat protein instead of taking carbohydrates. Protein-rich food makes you feel fuller and does not increase your blood sugar levels. However, excessive consumption of protein while having low blood sugar levels is not good. It leads to more conversion of protein into glucose. Hence, it ultimately increases your blood sugar levels. Sugar patient avoid food with high-protein content to manage their diabetes.

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


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