10 Foods to Avoid In Prediabetes

Medically Reviewed by DR. HARDIK BAMBHANIA, MBBS, MD , 8 Years of Experience January 16, 2024

In an age where fast food joints and sugary treats seem to be around every corner, it’s no surprise that prediabetes is on the rise. A study published by the WebMD website shows in the year 2018, over 70% of patients diagnosed with diabetes and prediabetes were due to wrong food choices. Prediabetes is a critical juncture, a warning signal from your body that your sugar levels are higher than they should be. But haven’t yet reached the threshold for a diabetes diagnosis. The good news is that prediabetes is often reversible with the right lifestyle changes, and one of the most effective ways to take control of your health is through your diet. In this article, we’ll explore the top prediabetes foods to avoid, shedding light on the dietary choices that can make all the difference in preventing the progression to full-blown diabetes. Whether you’ve been recently diagnosed with prediabetes or simply want to reduce your risk, understanding these foods to avoid when pre diabetic is a crucial first step towards better health.

1. Refined Carbs

Alternative of Refined Carbs In Prediabetes:

Refined carbohydrates top the list of prediabetes foods to avoid. They are a key concern for individuals with prediabetes due to their damaging impact on blood sugar control. According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, refined carbs heighten the risk of type 2 diabetes from prediabetes. These refined or simple carbs, found in items like white bread, sugary cereals, and white flour products, are swiftly converted into glucose in the body. This conversion leads to rapid spikes in your sugar levels. This is a problem heightened by the already compromised blood sugar levels in prediabetes. There, they are first on our list of borderline diabetic foods to avoid.

Furthermore, long-term consumption of refined carbs can foster insulin resistance. In this, your body cells become less responsive to insulin’s glucose-regulating effects. This condition deepens the prediabetic state and increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Weight management is another issue. Refined carbs are often calorie-dense but lacking in nutrients and fiber, promoting overeating and weight gain—another risk factor for prediabetes and diabetes. Moreover, these carbs fail to provide lasting fullness, encouraging excessive snacking and calorie intake.

Read More: What is Prediabetes and its Causes?

Alternative of Refined Carbs In Prediabetes:

To effectively manage prediabetes, prioritise complex carbohydrates like whole grains, vegetables, and legumes. Some examples of such foods are:

These options have a gentler impact on blood sugar, offer vital nutrients and fiber, and promote satiety. Eliminating or reducing refined carbohydrates from your diet is a crucial step towards stabilising blood sugar levels and thwarting the progression to diabetes.

2. Mithais, Pastries and Cakes

Sugary delights are next on the list of foods to avoid when pre diabetic. Food items like khoya mithais, cakes, pastries, donuts, etc., are very high in sugar content. They also have high calories and saturated fats. All these attributes are highly linked to obesity, hyperglycemia, inflammation, and heart ailments.

Moreover, these are top foods to stay away from with prediabetes because they have the bare minimum nutrition. Also, these foods are made of dairy products, refined sugar, and white flour, which are big no’s for prediabetes.

Read More: How to Reverse Prediabetes Permanently?

In place of these, you can try:

When facing prediabetes, it is best to avoid sugary foods like above. However, when you do have an urge for something sweet, you try:

  • No or low-sugar fruits like apples, pears, berries, etc
  • Low-sugar dark chocolate
  • Nut butter
  • Dry fruits

Do remember to consume these in very limited quantities. In borderline diabetic foods to avoid these too join the list. They are just to end your sugar cravings.

3. Sugary Drinks

Alternative of Sugary Drinks In Prediabetes:

Next on the list of prediabetes foods to avoid are sugary drinks and beverages. These include aerated drinks, fruit juices, sports drinks, tea, coffee, etc. All these are loaded with sugar and cause rapid spikes in blood sugar.

Although daily prediabetes sugar consumption has no exact recommendation, the upper limit should be less than 25 grams or 6 teaspoons for women. And for men, it is less than 36 grams or 9 teaspoons per day. According to the Harvard School of Health, replacing just one serving of sugary beverages lessens the chances of diabetes by 2-8%.

Moreover, a study by the National Institute of Health also suggests these foods to avoid in prediabetes stage, including sugary drinks, can alter glucose metabolism. This can result in insulin resistance and the onset of type 2 diabetes. Intake of these drinks is totally barred for overweight prediabetics as these can cause weight gain, strokes and heart diseases.

Read More: Know The Prediabetes Range Before and After Eating.

In place of sugary drinks, you can use:

  • Herbal teas
  • Methi dana water
  • Sugar-free sodas
  • Buttermilk with natural sweeteners
  • Sweet lime juice without sugar
  • Freshwater

However, do avoid fruit juices as they contain added sugar and lack fiber content, unlike whole fruit.

4. Saturated Fats

Saturated fats are another borderline diabetic foods to avoid. They are discouraged for prediabetes patients due to their adverse effects on health. These fats can exacerbate insulin resistance, a hallmark of prediabetes, making it harder for the body to regulate blood sugar levels. They also promote inflammation, which is linked to insulin resistance. And a heightened risk of developing full-scale type 2 diabetes.

Moreover, studies by the NIH (National Institute of Health) show saturated fats can harm heart health by increasing LDL cholesterol, a risk factor for heart ailments. Heart diseases are a common complication of diabetes. Their calorie density can contribute to weight gain, which, in turn, worsens insulin resistance and increases the risk of prediabetes progression.

A diet high in saturated fats often displaces healthier choices like fruits, veggies, and whole beans and grains. This results in a less balanced and nutritious eating pattern. To manage prediabetes effectively, it’s wise to limit saturated fat intake by reducing consumption of sources like fatty meats and full-fat dairy products.

Read More: Can Type 2 Diabetes be Reversed Permanently?

Instead of Switching to Healthy Fats like

In place of saturated fats foods to stay away from when prediabetic. Reports published by the Harvard School of Health say unsaturated fats which are good for your health. Foods that are rich in unsaturated fats include nuts, seeds, avocados, and fatty fish. These can improve insulin sensitivity and promote better overall health. By making these dietary adjustments, individuals with prediabetes can take proactive steps toward stabilizing blood sugar levels and reducing the risk of developing full-blown diabetes and associated health complications.

5. Non-Vegetarian Protein Sources

Next in this list of foods to avoid as a prediabetic is non-vegetarian food sources. Generally, non-veg foods are considered rich in protein and very nutritious. However, for prediabetics, these aren’t foods they should vouch for. There are multiple reasons behind this. 

Firstly, non-vegetarian foods like red meat, ham, chicken, pork, etc., are acidic and, thus, increase inflammation in prediabetes and diabetes patients. Secondly, non-veg foods like red meat have saturated fat, which is a big no for prediabetics. Lastly, these meats contain a good amount of sodium, which negatively affects your sugar levels.

Moreover, there are several studies linking consumption of processed meat with a heightened risk of type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, and even cancer.

Read More: 15 Foods To Lower Blood Sugar Levels

Instead, you could try:

Several studies have shown replacing animal protein with plant-based protein can decrease the progression to type 2 diabetes. A study published in Research Gate shows how vegetarian food sources are more alkaline and thus are good for diabetics. Here are some foods of unsaturated fats you could try:

6. Dairy Products

Alternative of Dairy Products in Prediabetes:

Dairy products are also foods to avoid with borderline diabetes or prediabetes. According to a study published in the NLB(National Library of Medicine), dairy products like milk and its related items contain IGF molecules (Insulin-Like Growth factors). These IGF molecules appear as insulin to your body, and thus, it reduces insulin production. Although IGF molecules may appear like insulin, they don’t function like it at all. With insulin secretion minimised, the blood sugar levels automatically increase. Therefore, dairy products are foods to avoid if prediabetes is diagnosed.

Full-fat products like milk, cream, curd, yoghurt, etc., are a big no for you. Also, avoid favoured milk products like yoghurt and lassi.

Read More: 15 Ways To Lower Your Insulin Levels Naturally 

You can try the following in place of these:

If facing prediabetes, you can replace these dairy products with lactose-free yoghurts or low-fat products. These include:

  • Low-fat yoghurt
  • Buttermilk
  • Unsweetened homemade skimmed milk curd
  • Greek yoghurt
  • Nondairy products like almond milk, soymilk, coconut milk, etc.

7. Starchy Vegetables

Starchy veggies are next on this list of foods to avoid if prediabetic. Starch is a type of carbohydrate. The more the starch content, the more its calories and glycemic score. Top starchy veggies are potato and sweet potato and their related products. According to the diabetes.co.uk website, starchy veggies raise blood sugar more abruptly. Potatoes have a high GI score. This is due to their high carb content. Consumption of these veggies can lead to a rapid rise in blood sugar and insulin production.

One study that conducted a meta-analysis found consuming three servings of fried potato food items increases the risk of diabetes by 20%. Therefore, if you are a prediabetic looking to control and reverse prediabetes, starchy veggies are to be completely avoided.

Read More: Top 10 Homeopathic Medicine For Diabetes.

In place of starchy veggies, you could opt for:

In place of starchy veggies as pre diabetic foods to eat and avoid, you can replace them with non-starchy veggies. These include broccoli, carrots, radishes, cabbage, beans, spinach, etc. Choose stir fry instead of deep fry or methods like baking. You could also pair some amount of starchy vegetables with low and mid-GI foods in a full meal.

8. Sweetened Cereals

In prediabetes foods to avoid now comes cereals, which are people’s favorite breakfast options. Many people love cereals so much that they consume them daily. But the fact is cereals are loaded with sugar, refined carbs and preservatives for longer shelf life. These attributes aren’t good for prediabetes. 

Even studies have found that the average sugar contained in cereals is above 20 grams per 100 grams. Cereals marketed as kids’ variant contains more sugar content than adult variant.

Read More: How to Stop Sugar Craving Naturally?

Instead of cereals, you can try:

Go for whole grain cereals and check the contents of the packet. Choose cereals not having more than 5-6 grams of sugar and a minimum of 3 to 4 grams of fiber. When consuming it, add some plain dry fruits and seeds like chia to increase its digestion. And thus delay the absorption rate of sugar in the bloodstream. Or you can also choose other healthy breakfast options like:

  • Moong dal idli/dosa with sambhar
  • Besan Cheela
  • Multigrain roti with stirred veggies
  • Vegetable Oatmeal

9. Candied Dried Fruits

Alternative of Candied Dried Fruits in Prediabetes:

When looking into fruits to avoid for prediabetes, candies dried fruits are the worst fruits for prediabetes patients. Fruits, in general, are okay for measured consumption for prediabetes. However, when fruits are dried, they lose their water content and volume. Thus, the nutrients and sugar content get concentrated. Further, to make it taste better, extra sugar is coated, and preservatives are added. According to the Medical News Today website, dried or dehydrated fruits are the worst type of fruits which bring abrupt blood sugar spikes.

In prediabetes fruits to avoid, this form of candied fruit is to be totally avoided. As they can increase your blood sugar, and the preservatives on regular consumption increase the risk of cancer.

Read More: What Is Type 2 Diabetes Management?

Instead, you opt for:

Instead of these dried fruits to avoid in prediabetes, you should choose fresh low to medium-GI fruits like:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Peaches
  • Apricot
  • Papaya
  • Berries

10. Salad Dressing and Jams

Last but not least, in foods to avoid in prediabetes add-ons to your dishes, too unknowingly add good sugar and carbs content to your meal. Salad toppings like sauces, ketchup, jams, honey mustard, etc., have a high amount of carbs, sugar, fat, and sodium. Plus, they are high in calories, increasing the overall calorie count of your healthy dish.

There are also many fat-free dressings available in the market, but don’t fall for them. These dressings are made fat-free but contain more carns than their regular versions. This is because fat is replaced with sugar.

Another popular topping is jams and jellies. Although claimed to be made from natural fruits, these contain a load of added sugar.

Read More: Best Alcohol for Diabetics To Drink.

Replace these with:

It is best to avoid these extra dressings and toppings in your food if you wish to curtail your calorie intake. However, if you wish to add dressing, choose oil-based ones. Healthier condiments include:

  • Mustard
  • Olive oil
  • Filtered mustard oil
  • Spices
  • Herbs

Avoid the consumption of jams and jellies instead, replace them with fresh fruits.


In conclusion, managing prediabetes involves making informed dietary choices. In this blog, we covered prediabetes foods to avoid. Foods high in refined carbs, sugary treats like mithais, pastries, and cakes, as well as sugary drinks, can help stabilise blood sugar levels. Additionally, limiting saturated fats, non-vegetarian protein sources, and dairy products is crucial for heart health. Starchy vegetables, sweetened cereals, candied dried fruits, and items with hidden sugars like salad dressings and jams should also be consumed sparingly. Prioritising whole, unprocessed foods and not consuming foods to avoid when pre diabetic are a must. Also, consult with your doctor regarding your diet to prevent prediabetes progression and control it.

Facing problems sorting out healthy meals and diets for prediabetes?

Breathe Well-Being is here to put you out of your misery. Our team of experienced health experts have a track record of controlling and preventing prediabetes. Connect with us today and get expert health guidance.

FAQs ( Frequently Asked Questions)

If prediabetic what foods to avoid?

In pre diabetes what not to eat is greater than foods you are allowed to it. The following are foods to avoid as a prediabetic:

Refined or simple carbs
Sugary products
High GI fruits
Starchy vegetables
Canned juices and drinks
Dairy products
Saturated fats
Salad dressings

What fruits are OK for prediabetes?

Fruits with low and medium GI are okay for prediabetes. Fruits like apples, pears, citrus fruits, berries, etc., are okay to be consumed. Fruits to avoid prediabetes are mainly pulpy fruits and fruits with high glycemic scores.

What 7 fruits should diabetics avoid?

In 7 fruits to avoid in prediabetes they are as follows:


Can prediabetes be cured permanently?

Yes, there are numerous cases of prediabetes reversal. And the interesting fact is prediabetes can be cured naturally without medicine. In natural cure, there are two main steps: first is diet control, and second is doing muscle-building exercises.

Is rice bad for prediabetes?

Yes, rice for prediabetics comes in prediabetes foods to avoid as it has a high GI score. Refined white rice has a greater GI score than brown rice. As consuming high GI foods is restricted in a prediabetes diet, rice should be avoided.

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


This site provides educational content; however, it is not a substitute for professional medical guidance. Readers should consult their healthcare professional for personalised guidance. We work hard to provide accurate and helpful information. Your well-being is important to us, and we value your feedback. To learn more, visit our editorial policy page for details on our content guidelines and the content creation process.

Leave a Reply


Download Free Diabetes Diet Plan

Download Diet Plan