Saturday, May 18, 2024

12 Foods to avoid if you have hypertension or diabetes

Some are obvious. Others are not so obvious. Some foods are detrimental to the health of people with these ailments. What they are.

Hypertension or diabetes. Two health problems that, in principle, seem unrelated. While the first is characterized by an excess of sugar in the blood due to the null or scarce production of insulin, the second consists of the elevation of the pressure in the arteries, which is linked, among other causes, with high consumption of salt and foods rich in sodium.



However, it has been proven that half of the patients with the first disease (diabetes) also suffer from the second (arterial hypertension). For them, then, the list of foods to avoid or restrict is somewhat longer. Let us look at the basic characteristics of each of these aliments.


The high presence of sugar (glucose) in the blood due to the null or scarce production of insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas, defines diabetes mellitus, which can be type 1 or 2. While type 1 (DM1) makes its patients insulin-dependent for life, type 2 (DM2) admits oral drugs for its control.


Arterial hypertension (AHT) is an abnormal elevation of blood pressure. Known as the “silent killer” because it does not present symptoms for many years, its causes include obesity, sedentary lifestyle, stress, and excessive consumption of alcohol and salt. In either case, there are foods to avoid if you have hypertension or diabetes.

Hypertension or diabetes: 12 foods to avoid

In an article published by the Argentine Diabetes Federation (DAT), signed by Dr. Marcela de la Plaza (MN 57,804), she states that diabetics should adapt their diet to avoid sudden changes in blood sugar levels. However, she adds, the sugar of fast absorption, which is added to coffee or tea, should be avoided at all costs.


The Mayo Clinic, meanwhile, adds that hypertensive patients should reduce their sodium intake (about 40% of table salt). One teaspoon of salt (approximately 5 g) is equivalent to the total daily sodium recommended by the Argentine Society of Arterial Hypertension.


In summary, for those suffering from DM2 and AHT, the list of foods to avoid or consume at a minimum is based on the principle “less sugar and less sodium”:       

1. Sweets

Foods with a lot of sugar, such as jams, honey, and candies, not only raise the amount of glucose but also provide fat and promote overweight and obesity, associated in almost nine out of ten cases of DM2 (type 2 diabetes). Fortunately for them, there are reduced-calorie or sugar-free options.

2. Liquors

As these alcoholic beverages have added sugar, they are not recommended for diabetics. Likewise, they should avoid or at least restrict other alcoholic beverages because, in general, they provide quite a lot of calories and impair glucose production in the liver.

3. Fruits with a lot of sugar

Although fruits are allowed (they are a source of natural sugar), some of them should be avoided, such as figs, plums, and those packed in syrup. Also, if they are very ripe.

4. Refined flours

As carbohydrates contribute to the production of glucose, they should be avoided. As a general rule, little or no bills, pizza, and white bread.

5. High-fat foods

There are many high-fat foods. And although some are very beneficial for the diet (deep-sea fish or nuts, for example), the truth is that there is a list of super forbidden for diabetics and hypertensives. And that list is headed by potato chips, snacks, empanadas, and products with butter.

6. Animal fats

The doctor does not advise eliminate beef or cheese but reducing their consumption. In the case of hypertensive patients, hard cheeses, which have a lot of sodium, are not allowed. And it is always better to get used to skimmed versions of dairy products.

7. Bottled soft drinks and juices

This is where cola drinks and juices come in unless it is clear on the label that they are sugar-free. But it is best not to take risks. Not only do they contain a lot of sugar. But there is also a relationship between the consumption of these drinks and increased blood pressure. On the other hand, in excess, they are a historical source of increased overweight and obesity.

8. Diet drinks

They are less harmful than sugary drinks because artificial sweeteners do not contain natural sugar, but are derived from synthetics (such as saccharin and aspartame) or from natural substances such as steviol, which comes from the Stevia plant. But today many studies dispute that these beverages are safe. It is advisable to consume them in moderation because the sweetener also usually contains sodium.

9. Artificial sauces

We have been used to the trio of mayonnaise, mustard, and ketchup since we were children. And in recent years, soy sauce has become fashionable. They are all very high in sodium. And their chemical sweeteners are not suitable for diabetics. If possible, also avoid packaged tomato sauces. Nothing healthier than a good homemade tomato sauce.

10. Full-fat dairy products

Avoid foods that seem less harmful, such as butter and cream, among others, because of their high-fat content. Likewise, within dairy products, hard cheeses are forbidden because of their high sodium content, which has an impact on hypertensive patients. Even semi-hard cheeses are not advisable. It is necessary to accustom the palate to the non-fat dairy options, which are available and tasty.

11. Cold meats

Cold cuts provide salt and saturated fats. Therefore, they can affect not only those who have arterial hypertension (AHT) but also those who diet as a complement to drugs for type 2 diabetes (DM2).

12. Canned foods

As tuna or mackerel have added sodium (a 170 g can have 118 mg), they are not recommended for hypertensive people, although their consumption favors diabetics. Many of the cans consumed in a supermarket have added sodium. It is necessary to learn to read the labels with their nutritional value.

This content is published for informational purposes only and cannot replace the work of a professional. We recommend that you consult with your trusted specialized professional.