Unhealthy foods to avoid with type 1 diabetes.

Foods to Avoid With Type 1 Diabetes

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Key Takeaway:

Foods to limit if you’re living with type 1 diabetes include foods high in “bad” fats (saturated and trans fats), refined grains, and sugary foods.

If you’re living with type 1 diabetes, what you eat and drink plays a huge role in your ability to control your blood sugar levels and prevent complications. Although there’s currently no single recommended diet or eating plan, there are general guidelines for foods to include and foods to avoid with type 1 diabetes. While it’s important to learn about foods that can help regulate your blood sugar, it’s equally important to learn about foods that can interfere with blood sugar control. This article will discuss foods to avoid with type 1 diabetes.

Foods to Avoid With Type 1 Diabetes

High-carb, high-calorie, and high-sugar foods tend to have the greatest impact on your blood sugar levels, making these the foods to avoid with type 1 diabetes. That is not to say these foods are entirely off limits—for many people living with diabetes, these foods can be enjoyed in moderation. Talk with your healthcare team if you are unsure about what foods to include and exclude from your diet. Below are foods to limit in your diet, along with some healthy alternatives.

Foods to Avoid With Type 1 Diabetes 
Foods to Avoid Examples Healthier Substitutes
Foods High in “Bad” Fats
  • Fatty cuts of meat
  • Butter, lard, shortening, margarine, and ghee
  • Certain cheeses (e.g., cheddar)
  • Cream
  • Sour cream
  • Packaged savory snacks (e.g., chips, crackers, microwave popcorn)
  • Frozen meals
  • Baked goods (cookies, cakes, muffins, etc.)
  • Fried foods
  • Chicken, turkey, and duck (without skin)
  • Lean cuts of pork, beef, and lamb
  • Omega-3 fatty acid-rich fish 
  • Olive or canola oil
  • Cottage cheese
  • Low-fat or fat-free milk
  • Plain unsweetened milk alternatives
  • Unsweetened plain Greek yogurt
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Avocados 
  • Eggs
  • Beans and legumes
Refined Grains
  • White rice
  • White bread
  • White pasta
  • Other foods made with white flour (e.g., cookies, cakes, cereals, and snacks)
  • Brown, red, and wild rice
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Cauliflower crust
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Foods made with whole-wheat flour
  • Quinoa 
  • Barley
  • Oatmeal
Sugary Foods
  • Flavored yogurts
  • Candy
  • Baked goods
  • Ice cream
  • Certain condiments and sauces (e.g., ketchup, BBQ, teriyaki, some salad dressings)
  • Packaged soups 
  • Unsweetened plain Greek yogurt
  • Fresh fruits
  • Frozen or canned fruits without added sugars
  • Dark chocolate 
  • Homemade sauces and soups

Drinks to Avoid With Type 1 Diabetes

What you drink matters just as much as what you eat. Sugary drinks are a common cause of blood sugar spikes. Below are drinks to avoid with type 1 diabetes, along with some healthy alternatives recommended by the American Diabetes Association.

Drinks to Avoid With Type 1 Diabetes
Drinks to Avoid Low-Calorie, Low-Carb Alternatives
  • Regular soda
  • Sweet tea
  • Coffee drinks with added sugars and/or cream
  • Energy drinks
  • Sports drinks
  • Fruit drinks
  • Water (still, sparkling, seltzer, mineral, or infused)
  • Unsweetened coffee
  • Unsweetened tea
  • Diet sodas
  • 100% juice with no sugar added
  • Other zero calorie drinks mixes

The Role of Blood Glucose Monitoring

While there are general guidelines for foods to eat and foods to avoid with type 1 diabetes, it’s important to understand that everyone living with type 1 diabetes is unique—and some foods may affect your blood sugar more or less than others with type 1 diabetes.

To better understand how various foods uniquely affect your blood glucose levels, your healthcare team may recommend you test your blood sugar more frequently. Testing before and after meals (pre and postprandial glucose) is an excellent way to correlate specific foods or meals with blood sugar trends.

A discreet, on-the-go, all-in-one blood sugar monitor, like the POGO Automatic® Monitor, can provide you with the convenience of checking your levels whether you’re at home or on the go. Our innovative single-step testing means all you need to do is press the button, and you’re good to POGO.

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 Robert Miller, customer experience specialist

Robert Miller

Robert Miller is a customer experience specialist committed to helping people navigate the world of diabetes. He focuses on finding innovative tools and strategies that make diabetes management easier to support long-term wellness.

All content on this website is for educational purposes only and does not replace the guidance of your healthcare practitioner. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new healthcare regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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