When you're first diagnosed with gestational diabetes, what not to eat is one of your first concerns. Well here's the good news: you actually can eat anything you want until your body tells you that you can't. How will you know? Your blood sugar readings will be the indicator to say whether or not you should avoid or cut back on a particular food. However, there are some items that are beneficial to avoid or strictly portion in the list below.
Gestational Diabetes - What Not to Eat
- Added sugar! - Grocery store shelves are stocked with items that have tons of added sugar. This is why it's best to minimize the processed foods you eat and eat "real food" meals that you make yourself. Fortunately, low-glycemic sweeteners are common and can be found at any grocery store. My post on has a definition of "sugar free" and a short guide to common low glycemic sweeteners.
- Starchy vegetables - Potatoes, winter squash, corn, peas, etc. The starches in these will raise your blood sugar quickly: how fast and by how much depends on the portion you eat.
- Juices & soda - Fruit juices are almost always made from concentrate, which means there are more sugars in the juice than if you were to eat the actual fruit. Sodas are loaded with sugar. Diet soda or flavored carbonated water are better choices than regular soda.
- White grains - Say it with me, "white ain't right." Choose brown rice or whole grains like quinoa or barley to replace white rice. Even if the carb count is similar to white rice, the carbs are processed slowly which makes for a better blood sugar reading. For breads and pasta, make sure they are made with whole wheat. Whole wheat should be the first ingredient on the package. Other options like protein-fortified pasta and seeded breads are good options too. Barilla has a Protein Plus pasta line that is commonly found, and Dave's Killer Bread has a few options and is found in all grocers. Use nut or protein flour and corn, whole wheat or high fiber tortillas.
- Processed Foods - The vast majority of white grains and sugar that we eat is in foods that we buy already made: processed foods like snack cakes, crackers, candy, baked goods, cereal, etc. They are all just empty carbs that will quickly raise you blood sugar so try to avoid them as best as you can. The exception is that there are some companies making healthier versions of your favorite snacks. You're best bet here is to visit your local health food store to become familiar with the brands and grab a few favorites.