Junk food and diabetes: A complete guide for 2024

Coach Kannan
January 09,2023

Who doesn’t occasionally want delicious fast food? Junk food has integrated seamlessly into our daily lives.

You might be astonished to learn that processed junk is unquestionably one of the leading causes of hormonal imbalance, decreased insulin sensitivity, and raised blood sugar levels in the majority of today’s youngsters. Diabetes and other disorders are frequently attributed to genetics, although this is rarely the case. 

You can develop diabetes even if no one in your family has the condition. It has a strong connection to an unbalanced lifestyle. More people worldwide are now suffering from pre-diabetes than ever before, and this progresses to diabetes due to their dietary patterns and lifestyle. Not genetics.

In this article, we will explore the harmful effects of junk food, in particular how they play a part in a diet for diabetes.

What is junk food and why is it harmful?

Foods with very poor nutritional value are included in the category of “junk food.” They have significant levels of saturated fat, added sugar, salt and are usually high-calorie. As a result, you shouldn’t include junk food in your diet often.


Junk food is also sometimes known as an “empty calories”. They have calories but are ‘empty’ in terms of nutritional value.


The most common examples of junk food are as follows:

  • Potato chips & nachos
  • Biscuits
  • Sugary cereals
  • Chocolate & candy
  • Sweet beverages & colas
  • Fried snacks like cheese puffs


junk food

All of these foods have added salt or sugars and oils and have almost no nutritional value. They contain calories but are empty in terms of nutritional value.

Consuming junk food frequently raises the ingestion of extra fat, simple carbs, and refined sugar, which might also increase the likelihood of obesity, heart illnesses, and other chronic health issues. Obesity resulting from this could result in a number of lifestyle diseases including diabetes, fatty liver, thyroid, PCOS and heart problems. 

Additionally, it has been hypothesized that eating junk food affects the brain in a similar way to addictive substances. An addiction to fast food may even cause a person to reject better dietary alternatives like fruits, vegetables, salads, etc., resulting in even more malnutrition.

What is the link between junk food and diabetes?

Diabetes is an illness in which the body produces insufficient insulin or uses it improperly. Diet has a crucial role in controlling diabetes and avoiding issues.

The body requires insulin to control blood glucose levels and utilize this glucose to power the body’s cells. Without insulin, the body cannot utilize glucose obtained from the diet.

As the blood flows through the body, high glucose levels accumulated in the circulation over time may harm some organs. Additionally, the body’s cells won’t have sufficient energy since glucose cannot enter the cells without insulin.

Maintaining a healthy diet is crucial for controlling blood glucose levels. A person recently diagnosed with diabetes may need to change their diet. This can sound difficult, but by adopting wise choices, people with diabetes can occasionally and in proportion enjoy their favorite meals, even junk food.

Harmful effects of junk food 

Junk food and diabetes are strongly related. The following points answer why junk food is unhealthy and ways that junk eating may increase your risk of diabetes:

Rapid effect on blood sugar levels

Foods that have undergone extensive processing and are packed with calories but lacking in fiber, vitamins, and minerals get digested quickly in the body, raising blood glucose levels rapidly.

Inappropriate portion size and addictive

Junk food is generally served in excessive portions and is typically not very filling. Both of these elements may encourage individuals to consume junk food in excess. This leads to increased blood sugar and excess weight.

Weight gain

People who consume junk food are more likely to gain weight due to the addictive nature of junk foods that leads to overeating them. Obesity and body fat are significant risk indicators for type 2 diabetes.

High blood pressure

Junk food typically contains a lot of sodium (salt), which raises blood pressure. Type 2 diabetes is also correlated with high blood pressure.

Triglyceride levels

Junk food has a lot of trans and saturated fats, which can increase blood cholesterol and triglycerides, a form of fat. Triglyceride levels above a certain threshold raise the possibility of heart problems.

The problems noted above like obesity, blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure tend to develop in parallel and are often referred to as metabolic syndrome.

Also Read: Harmful Effects Of Junk Food on Body

What is a good diet for diabetes? 

Everyone should maintain a healthy diet, regardless of whether they have diabetes. But for those who have this illness, healthy foods consumed in the proper quantity offer two important advantages:

Reduced blood sugar

Lowering high blood glucose levels can lessen the symptoms of diabetes and reduce the chance of related health issues.

Weight management

HbA1C, a measure of the average blood glucose levels over time, is improved with a reduction in body weight.

What is the best diet for diabetes?

A smart diabetic diet is very similar to the balanced Indian diet that we discuss in this article: a balance of carbs, vegetables, protein, fruit and some fats. Most of the diet should be minimally processed foods with some allowance for occasional treats or junk foods.

While the specific diet plan will be different to take into account each person’s facts and personal situation, several foods are regarded as mainstays for those with the condition since they help maintain a normal weight and blood glucose level. They consist of the following:

  • Proteins – paneer, channa, rajma, soybean, tofu, eggs, seafood and lean meats
  • Non-starchy vegetables – any vegetable other than potato, yam and raw banana.
  • Healthy fats – ghee, coconut oil, olive oil
  • Low-fat dairy – milk, butter, cheese
  • Whole grains – rice, wheat, millets, oats

Sweetened beverages, trans fats, flavored drinks, and white bread are some of the foods to avoid for diabetics. 

Also Read: Does Junk Food Slow Down Your Metabolism?

Bottom line

It can be challenging to refrain from eating junk food, given it is all around us. Diabetes patients must keep a close eye on their diets to manage their weight and their blood glucose levels. Limit your junk food intake and, whenever possible, opt for healthy substitutes. This is great for general health as well as diabetes.

A simple way to do this is to schedule your weekly treats or junk foods. By allowing yourself to have them in this way, you will not feel deprived and are more likely to stick to your healthy diet the rest of the time.

Use the examples and guidelines provided in this article to make healthy food choices. This will help you with eating a healthy diet, managing blood sugar and achieving weight loss in a sustainable way.

About the Author

Coach Kannan
Kannan is a Precision Nutrition & ISSA Certified Nutrition Coach and a ACE-Certified Behavior Change Specialist. Kannan focuses on ideas that are scientific and also work in the real world. He is allergic to advice that is unscientific or not practical.

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