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List of Foods Pre-Diabetics Should Avoid

author image August McLaughlin
August McLaughlin is a certified nutritionist and health writer with more than nine years of professional experience. Her work has been featured in various magazines such as "Healthy Aging," "CitySmart," "IAmThatGirl" and "ULM." She holds specializations in eating disorders, healthy weight management and sports nutrition. She is currently completing her second cookbook and Weight Limit—a series of body image/nutrition-related PSAs.
List of Foods Pre-Diabetics Should Avoid
Two bowls of pistachio ice cream on a wooden table. Photo Credit: tashka2000/iStock/Getty Images

Pre-diabetes is a condition that involves high glucose, or blood sugar, levels that have not yet escalated to the point that would indicate a diabetes diagnosis. According to the American Diabetes Association, most people who develop Type II diabetes are pre-diabetic first. If you've been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or are at high risk for this disease, a healthy dietary lifestyle is recommended.

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Refined Starches

Refined starches are processed, carbohydrate-based foods such as enriched white or wheat bread, instant rice and sugary sweets, as well as processed snack foods such as chips, cookies and pretzels. Andrew Weil, M.D., a natural health expert, suggests reducing these foods in your diet if you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, as they may cause blood sugar difficulties and offer little nutrient value. Replace refined starches with complex or whole grain carbohydrate equivalents.

Saturated Fats

Saturated fats are found primarily in animal-derived products, and are associated with an increased risk for heart disease and other conditions. According to Dr. Weil, saturated fats should be avoided as a means of preventing or treating pre-diabetes. Avoid foods such as fatty red meat, processed meats, whole milk, high-fat cheeses, deep-friend foods, ice cream and butter. Replace these foods with healthy fat sources such as nuts, olive oil, avocado and flax seeds, as well as baked, grilled or steamed foods. When you do consume foods high in saturated fats, keep your portion sizes modest.

Trans-fatty Acids

Trans-fatty acids, or trans fats, result when hydrogen is added to liquid vegetable oils in order to create more solid forms of fat. Tran fats enhance flavor and preserve foods, but according to the American Heart association, they also increase the risk for heart disease and Type II diabetes. If you are pre-diabetic, avoid margarine, shortening and hydrogenated vegetable oils. Foods that commonly contain trans fats include commercially prepared cookies, pie crust, pizza and other snack foods, as well as fried foods such as doughnuts and French fries. The American Heart Association recommends that no more than 1 percent of your diet stem from trans fats, the equivalent of 2g in a 2,000-calorie diet. Replace butter and margarine with extra virgin olive or canola oil, and seek natural foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grain-based snacks in place of fried or processed foods.

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