Foods to Avoid for a Type 2 Diabetic

Updated March 23, 2017

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not respond well to its insulin production, which affects blood sugar levels. Diet can help control blood sugar spikes, and diabetics should avoid certain foods.

Glucose Levels

Sugar causes glucose levels to rise quickly. Without an adequate insulin response, high glucose levels can cause permanent damage. Sugar is in so many foods that it can be difficult for diabetics to avoid completely. Read the labels of foods you consume and try to reduce your intake of anything that says glucose, honey, sugar, cane sugar, agave syrup, fructose or high fructose corn syrup.

Glycemic Index

The most important thing a diabetic can do is select foods according to the glycemic index. This is a system that measures the blood sugar response to foods, assigning them a number. The lower the number, the better the food will be for sustained control of glucose levels. For example, cantaloupe is a 65 on the index while cherries are only a 22. Because the index assigns arbitrary numbers to food, individuals might experience varying results. Still, the glycemic index is a useful guide for choosing the proper foods. (See the Resources below for a link to the glycemic index.)

Types of Carbs

Carbohydrates are either simple or complex. Simple carbohydrates are found in sugar and processed foods. Complex carbohydrates are in vegetables, whole grains and fruits. Diabetics should try to avoid simple carbohydrates, but complex carbohydrates are important for good health. At least 40 per cent of your daily intake should come from complex carbohydrates.


Many people think juice is an essential part of a healthy diet. In reality, artificially sweetened juice is about the equivalent of drinking sugar water. Processed juices can also spike blood sugars. Diabetics can still enjoy juice, but they should either water it down to reduce the juice content or buy a juicer and make their own fresh juice from fruit.


Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn, parsnips and beets should be reduced or eliminated. When digested, the starch content converts to sugar, elevating blood sugar levels.

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