The best thing to do is plan ahead, but sometimes you’re out and about and you have no snacks and your blood sugar is dropping. A McDonald’s is right across the street and its drive-thru is calling your name. You drive up and look at the menu. What should you order to avoid wreaking havoc on your digestive system, your blood sugar, and your body as a whole?
While maintaining a fast-food-based diet is never good, there are some fast foods that are worse for you than others. Here are the top 10 worst fast foods for diabetics.
1. French Fries
French fries don’t offer many nutrients in return for the mess they make in your bloodstream. The meager amount of potatoes in them digests fast and turns right into blood sugar, creating an unwanted spike. Not to mention the oil the potato strips are fried in—which is one of the worst parts and filled with unhealthy fats. If you just gotta have your fries, bake them at home without the oil. Home-made sweet potato fries baked in olive oil and salt are a tasty, healthy alternative.
2. White Tortilla Recipes
This includes quesadillas, nachos and other concoctions from the Mexican drive-thru down the street. Tortillas contain a lot of carbs and most nachos have more calories than you’ll need for both lunch and dinner. You might consider nachos a classic snack, but if you plan on eating them, eat them as a meal. To reduce calories, use reduced-fat cheese and share your meal with a few people.
Sometimes all you want to do is eat warm cookies and relax by the fire after a long day. But while the dessert is high in calories, it is not very filling. And all the sprinkles, frosting, and chocolate chips are hiding a lot of trans fats. You can try other healthy cookie alternatives like substituting butter with Greek yogurt, white flour for whole wheat flour, or maple syrup for refined sugar. You could even try incorporating other nutrients into the mix—some cooks love to put tofu or zucchini into their cookies.
Like cookies, chips are high in calories, but low in nutrients. Chips are often eaten as a mindless snack and can quickly undermine your efforts to get your weight and diet under control. If you’re at a party and chips are provided as one of the appetizers, prepare yourself to gravitate more toward the veggie plate filled with celery, carrots, and broccoli. Your stomach and your blood sugar will thank you for it.
5. Chicken Nuggets
The deep-fried skin is so very crunchy and yummy, but is jam-packed with carbs. You might forget to count the heavily breaded exterior against your carbs for the day. Also beware of the deep-fried Chinese chicken entrees from your favorite take-out locations. Orange chicken may sound healthy because it has a fruit in its title, but the dish is far from diabetes-friendly.
The refined flour found in bagels causes surges in blood sugar due to quick absorption of carbs into the bloodstream. You may think they are a great grab-and-go breakfast while on your way to work, but the costs outweigh the benefits. If you are craving that bagel, get one with whole-wheat flour and an avocado smear or smoked salmon.
Not only are milkshakes a mere accessory to your meal, but they also come with too much sugar, calories, and bad-for-your-heart trans fat. The whipped cream on the top just makes it worse. A medium-sized milkshake can have 700 to 800 calories with 100 grams of carbs. Yikes!
Sadly, this easy party meal and common favorite is usually high in sodium, fat, carbs and calories—pretty much everything you don’t want in your body as a diabetic. One slice of pizza can be as much as 350 calories and is often packed with unhealthy oils.
This is the American staple; maybe that explains why America is the fattest country in the world. Hamburgers are high in saturated fat that hurts your heart—and heart disease is a special concern for everyone with diabetes. Instead of keeping the bun, sauces, cheese, and all other fatty ingredients, try eating a nice steak or a patty by itself. You could even go for the healthier option at some fast food chains with a lettuce bun.
Soda is all-around bad for you. There are even significant concerns about diet soda. In fact, a recent study from French researching team INSERM found that the risk of developing diabetes may be higher for people who consume diet drinks than for those who choose regular drinks. The study found that the risk is 15% greater with consumption of half a liter of diet soda a week and 59% greater for 1.5 liters a week. Drinking diet soda is a common trend among American women, but may lead to addictive behaviors, bad health, and worse complications for your diabetes. Regular soda and fruit drinks contain an abundance of unwanted sugar. If you’re tired of drinking water, don’t turn to soda or fruit drinks. Instead, try infusing your water with strawberries, watermelon, cucumbers, limes, lemons, or mint. You could also drink unsweetened hot or cold tea.