7 So-Called Healthy Foods That Disrupt Your Blood Sugar


1. Agave nectar is a syrupy sweetener that is often considered a health food because it is categorized as low-glycemic (a measure of how specific carbohydrate-containing foods raise blood sugar). The problem is that agave nectar is high in fructose, which is hard on the liver and could contribute to fatty liver disease and insulin resistance. Also, although it may raise your blood sugar more slowly, it may also raise it just as high over a longer period, which isn’t necessarily better.

2. Whole grains:  We’ve all heard the downsides of wheat and how gluten can be bad for your health in a myriad of ways. However, gluten-free grains as well as whole or sprouted grains have similar proteins to gluten, which can contribute to inflammation and are still extremely high in amylose sugars. An overload of these can lead to blood sugar spikes, insulin resistance, and inflammation – all risk factors (or markers) for diabetes.

3. Higher fructose fruit/Dried Fruit is a natural whole food that contains only natural sugars, so you may think it’s okay because you aren’t dousing it with anything additional. However, for people with blood sugar problems, those natural sugars can still cause problems. If you know you have blood sugar issues, it’s important to limit high-fructose fruits such as apples, watermelon, pears, and cherries. But don’t fear fruit! There are many lower fructose fruits with great nutritional profiles, especially berries and melons of all kinds. You may find these fruits don’t give you any problem. For the most part, I typically suggest limiting fruit to a couple servings per day.

4. Fruit Juice same as the above, but even worse, because it has had all the fiber removed and sugars concentrated into an easy-to-suck down blood sugar bomb.

5. Legumes/Beans contain a large amount of starch and fiber that can help feed the good bacteria in your microbiome. But for people with blood sugar issues, the cost isn’t always worth the benefits. Not only can the starch mess with blood sugar balance, but the lectin and phytate proteins in legumes can cause bloating and gas and continue to drive inflammation. I find that this isone common blood sugar spiker for vegans and vegetarians with blood sugar issues, who typically eat clean but rely heavily on beans as a source of protein.

6. Too many starchy vegetables:  Your body quickly converts carbohydrates to glucose. By emphasizing starchy vegetables (potatoes, squash) in your diet can contribute to blood sugar imbalance. Better to reach for non-starchy vegetables like dark leafy greens and sulfur-rich veggies like broccoli, onions, and mushrooms, and keep starchy veggies like sweet potatoes, beets, and squash to a minimum.

7. Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs):  Anyone with blood sugar problems needs to eat plenty of healthy fats to help transition the body from burning sugar to burning fat, a great remedy for unstable blood sugar. However, when that fat comes from processed polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) oils found in vegetable, canola, sunflower, corn, and soybean oils, you could be doing more harm that good. Touted as “heart healthy,” these oils are actually highly processed and oxidize easily with heat and air exposure. This can exacerbate inflammation, which in turn can worsen insulin resistance and blood sugar problems.

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