Diabetes warning: Summer foods that could spike your blood sugar – Steer ‘clear’

Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert

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Type 2 diabetes details a chronic condition in which your blood sugar levels rise to dangerous heights. This spike occurs because your body struggles to produce enough hormone called insulin, or the one that you make doesn’t work properly. Deprived of this key mechanism, your blood glucose is left soaring high. And what you eat could either help or make things worse, depending on the exact food.

With the temperatures creeping to mid-twenties this weekend, many will hit their local pools, beaches and parks.

Although the warm weather might tempt you to indulge yourself in mixed drinks, ice cream and barbecued food, Dr Sarah Brewer has warned that these summer foods could be taxing for your blood sugar levels.

Here are her top tips for making the most of summer flavours while keeping your glucose in check.

Alcoholic drinks

Dr Brewer said: “When the weather gets warmer, all we want to do is let our hair down and relax, but it’s wise to find other ways to do this rather than drinking alcohol.

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“When you have diabetes, drinking alcohol can cause your blood glucose levels to either rise or fall, depending on how much you have eaten, how much alcohol you consume, how quickly, and the amount of carbohydrate present in the drink or mixer.

“Beer and sweet wine can cause blood glucose levels to rise”.

That’s why the doctor’s advice reads “moderation is key”.

She recommends drinking only when your blood sugar levels are well-managed.

Dr Brewer added: “Drink alcohol with food, drink slowly and avoid sugary drinks as mixers.”

Plus, she noted that many doctors advise sticking to only one or two units of alcohol a day if you suffer from the blood sugar condition.

Ice lollies

Being the staple of summer treats, ice lollies might be refreshing during the scorching heat, however, they are often packed with sugar.

The doctor said: “Avoid those you buy in the supermarkets at all costs, as they are laden with sugar.

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“Make your own from low-cal squash or diluted fruit juice and sweeten with stevia if needed.”


Similarly to ice lollies, Dr Brewer suggested steering “clear” of anything pre-packaged and shop bought.

She said: “Check labels as these are often surprisingly high in salt and sugar.

“For alternative sources of flavour use fresh chopped herbs, a sprinkle of smoked paprika, freshly-ground black pepper, lemon or lime juice.

“The same applies to pre-marinaded BBQ meats – their sauces are likely to be high in sugar, salt, and possibly less healthy cooking oils.

“Marinade your own with a little olive oil, fresh herbs, black pepper and lemon juice.”

While many summer snacks and foods could be a trap for your blood sugar levels, one refreshing snack is allowed – fruit.

Dr Brewer added: “Although fruit contains natural sugars, most have a low to moderate glycaemic index and do not raise blood glucose levels excessively. Though don’t over-indulge in dried fruits.”

What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?

The main symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

  • Peeing more than usual (especially at night)
  • Feeling thirsty all the time
  • Feeling very tired
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
  • Cuts or wounds healing slowly
  • Blurred vision.

The health service advises seeing a GP if you suffer from any of these symptoms or you’re worried that you may have a higher risk of the condition.

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