How Can Diabetics Spot and Avoid Processed Foods?
Diabetes occurs due to various causes, one of them being poor eating habits. A diet high in cholesterol, calories, and fat can increase the risk of diabetes. Here we specifically narrow down on nutrition for diabetics, by focusing on processed food and its contents.
Also read: Time to Unfriend Diabetes
Almost all food items on supermarket shelves undergo a considerable amount of processing and may be responsible for most lifestyle diseases, including diabetes. Sanitation and the need for more shelf-life make minimal processing unavoidable. But ultra-processing goes a step further to make the foods more appealing and palatable while significantly influencing blood glucose to rise to unhealthy levels.
How do you spot ultra-processed foods?
Typically, when an apple is plucked from a tree, its inedible stalks and leaves are removed, and the fruit is cleaned using baking soda to clear any pesticide residues. Then, it is packed and shipped to your nearest store, ready for you to eat. This is what minimum processing looks like. Most whole foods like grains, nuts, and fruits go through a similar cycle.
But on adding salt, sugar, and fat to the processing, foods become ultra-processed. To know whether or not a food item is processed to such a degree, the key is to read its nutrition label carefully and spot the quantities of certain food elements before adding them to your cart.
Also watch: How to Read a Nutrition Label?
Also read: How to Avoid Junk Food and Eat Healthy Instead?
Most unhealthy elements that facilitate food processing fall under carbohydrates and salt on the nutrition label.
Other ingredients to watch out for
Adding ingredients that are not naturally present in the food item changes the structure of the food. For instance, the fiber in whole foods like broccoli is more efficient than any supplement because of the structure of compounds in broccoli.
These ingredients often have obscure names and generally contribute to the taste and appeal of the food, and function as artificial flavors and colors, preservatives, emulsifiers, laxatives, etc.
While functions of some of these may seem important, consuming large amounts of preservatives, laxatives, and emulsifiers are linked to metabolic and heart diseases. Also, as the quantity of these ingredients continues to increase, the overall content of whole food in the food item gets reduced.
As you see, reading nutrition labels can go a long way to help you make better food choices. Make an informed decision and eat your way to good health.