These top food offenders contain high amounts of fat, sodium, carbs, and calories that may increase your risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, uncontrolled blood sugar, and weight gain. The good news is you can indulge in your favorite foods and still eat healthily with our satisfying and delicious alternatives.

Think Twice Before Eating These Foods

At Health Now Networks, we believe that eating with diabetes doesn’t have to mean deprivation, starvation, or bland and boring foods. However, some foods really are best left on the table or in the store. Everyone — with diabetes or without — would be wise to avoid or limit the foods on this list because they are high in saturated fat, sodium, calories, or carbs, or might contain trans fats. High amounts of sodium and saturated fat can lead to heart disease, while excess sugars, high carb counts, and added calories can cause unwanted weight gain and blood sugar spikes.

If you see some of your favorite foods on this list, don’t despair: We’ve picked healthier options for you to choose from that taste great. So you can have your fries and eat them, too — provided they’re baked rather than deep-fat fried.

*Nutrition information cited was gathered from company websites or food packaging.




You walk into a restaurant and you’re feeling starved. A quick scan of the menu and there they are: nachos, one of your favorites. You order them as an appetizer and also order a meal. Unfortunately, most restaurant nacho orders equate to and often exceed an entire meal’s worth of calories, carbs, and fat. For example, a regular order of Chili’s Classic Nachos has 830 calories, 59 grams of fat, and 39 grams of carb.


Coffee Drinks

A simple cup of joe with a little milk or even half-and-half can be a low-calorie beverage perfect for a person with diabetes. But many coffee-shop drinks rival decadent desserts for their high calorie, carb, and fat contents. For example, a 16-ounce Starbuck’s White Chocolate Mocha (with whipped cream and 2 percent milk) comes in at 470 calories and 63 grams of carb. Similarly, a medium Dunkaccino contains 350 calories, while the large size has almost 500 calories.



Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

Sometimes known as the bad boy on the breakfast buffet, traditional biscuits and gravy is indeed high in calories, fat (particularly saturated fat), and sodium. For example, the McDonald’s Biscuit and Gravy* entree has 570 calories and 13 grams of saturated fat.

That amount of saturated fat may not sound like too much, but consider that the American Diabetes Association suggests eating less than 7 percent of calories from saturated fat — and for most people, this is about 15 grams of saturated fat per day. Similarly, Bob Evans’ Sausage Gravy* recipe has 1,828 milligrams of sodium, exceeding the ADA’s recommended 1,500-milligram maximum per day.



Battered Fish Dinners

Fish: It’s always a safe choice when managing your weight and diabetes, right? It all depends on the preparation and the sides. A typical breaded-fish meal, complete with sides such as fries, hush puppies, and coleslaw, is simply best to avoid. The culprits are just about everything. For example, a typical platter with two deep-fried fish fillets, hush puppies, fries, and slaw comes to a total of more than 1,300 calories, 84 grams of fat, 113 grams of carb, and a whopping 3,000 milligrams of sodium. That’s double the suggested meal carb level of 45-60 grams for many people with diabetes and the recommended 1,500-milligram daily maximum for sodium.



Fruit Juice Beverages

Fruit beverages make our list of worst foods for diabetes because they can be high in calories and sugar. For example, Minute Maid Enhanced Pomegranate Blueberry 100% Juice Blend* has 29 grams of sugar, 130 calories, and 31 grams of carbohydrate in an 8-ounce serving. Minute Maid does offer a line of low-calorie juice drinks with 2 grams of sugar or less per 8-ounce serving.

Reading labels is a great way to make the best choices. Also be aware that nutrition information is per serving; many beverages that come in cans or bottles contain more than one serving.



Deep-Fried Chinese Entrees

You want to make smart food selections when you’re out and about, so you think: Asian? Check. Chicken? Check.

Not so fast. While some Asian chicken dishes are great choices, you’re best taking a pass on items such as deep-fried orange chicken with white rice. This breaded chicken swimming in sauce typically comes in at more than 400 calories and 43 grams of carb per serving, and that’s without the steamed white rice, which can often add another 200 calories and 44 grams of carb in a typical 1-cup serving. Also, this type of dish usually comes without vegetables.



Cinnamon Rolls

One of the most tempting smells in the mall or airport is freshly baked cinnamon rolls. But before you succumb, take a deep breath of fresh air and consider that a typical “mall” cinnamon roll contains more than 800 calories and 120 grams of carb — well over the 45-60 grams of carb suggested for an entire meal for the majority of people with diabetes. Sometimes even a homemade cinnamon roll can be over the top. For example, Crowd-Pleaser Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing from BHG has 427 calories and 62 grams of carb per roll. With a few ingredient tweaks, you can save carbs and calories and use more healthful ingredients, such as rolled oats and whole grain or whole wheat flour.



Restaurant French Fries

It’s no surprise that this fast-food staple is on our list. French fries are loaded with saturated fat, sodium, and calories. Although most fast-food restaurants now offer trans-fat-free fries, that doesn’t make them good for you.



Purchased Cookies

That cookie with all the sprinkles or chocolate chips could be hiding trans fats. Butter, high-fructose corn syrup, shortening, margarine, and partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated oils are the biggest saturated fat and trans fat contributors, and they can also pile on calories and carbs. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cites the following foods that can harbor trans fats:

Instead of buying cookies, bake them at home with our best cookie recipes. Many recipes contain good-for-you ingredients, such as whole grains and frui



Fried Chicken

Fried chicken is another restaurant staple and all-time favorite comfort food that should be avoided. Frying the chicken adds significant carbs, calories, sodium, and fat — it turns a good protein choice into a healthy-meal deal-breaker.



Purchased Pie

Thinking about ordering a piece of French silk pie for dessert? That one slice can pack up to 650 calories, 46 grams of fat, and 52 grams of carb at a restaurant such as Village Inn.* What about the frozen variety you might be tempted to grab while grocery shopping? It would be wise to check the food label before putting it in your cart.



Purchased Smoothies

If you’re looking for healthier options at the drive-through window, a fruit smoothie might seem like a good choice. Filled with fruit and sold at colorful, fresh-looking hot spots, smoothies seem like great snacks or lunch choices. Unfortunately, what you don’t see is added sugar and extra-large portion sizes.

For example, the Strawberry Whirl Jamba Juice Smoothie* has 46 grams of sugar, 220 calories, and 54 grams of carb in a 16-ounce serving. Although it’s fat-free and gives you 90 percent of your daily value of vitamin C, the cons outweigh the pros for this fruit smoothie.