BRING IT TO BARB Answering your questions on mental health, relationships and life issues


Dear Barb,

I recently went to the doctor and to my surprise I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I have a few extra pounds but never thought this would happen to me. What are the worst foods for diabetes and heart disease?


Concerned and Counteractive

Dear Concerned,

This can be a scary reality to be told this by your doctor. This may seem harsh, but nobody forces you to eat what you eat every day or buy what you bring home and place into your cabinets and refrigerator, which is the true culprit for creating this condition in your body most likely.

In my opinion it boils down to one thing: lack of self-control. Remember the commercial years ago for Lay’s Potato Chips? “Nobody can eat just one!” Actually, yes you can eat just one, if you tell yourself to only eat one. 

Sugar, however, has been recently named as a “poison” responsible for America’s obesity and diabetes epidemic. Do you notice that those who struggle with diabetes are also overweight consistently? The link is sugar! Sugar is your dietary enemy number one. It has been described as similar to cocaine, being equally difficult to resist once you have a taste of it. It’s in your bread and your packages of boxed products. It is one of the many foods that turn the body into a breeding ground for diabetes. It also causes inflammation in your body.

Now, most American diets consist of foods that have been harming the body for years, but this doesn’t mean that diabetics have to cut out all tasty foods completely. Balance is the key. Let’s be completely honest; one cookie a day is much different than eating five cookies a day!

Sugar used to be available in the form of fruit or honey, but today high fructose corn syrup is added to everything from processed food to infant formulas. You would be shocked if you started looking at the sugar content on every label for each product you put in your shopping cart this week. Set a limit of 24 grams of sugar a day and see how fast that number can add up by checking your cereal, yogurt or jam.

Saturated fat is your second biggest enemy of the modern diet. Everybody loves a steak or a juicy hamburger from time to time, but too much steak, hamburger, lamb and other red meat has been linked to heart disease and diabetes. Recent research at leading U.S. medical centers suggest that L-carnitine, a component in red meat, leads to clogged coronary arteries.

Red meat delivers a heroin-like shot of L-carnitine to the bacteria that live in the human gut. That bacteria turns into trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMA0), which leads to cholesterol-clogged arteries, which in turn can lead to a heart attack. 

Processed red meats such as bacon, sausage, and salami are the worst. Studies indicate that eating too much meat can increase diabetes by 41 percent.

Be careful of “skim” products that contain powdered milk solids and toxic industrial oils, which cause terrible inflammation in the body, making the body work overtime. Remember, inflammation has been linked to cancer! 

Finally, diets high in refined grains were two and a half times more likely to cause type 2 diabetes compared to those who ate whole grains or fewer carbohydrates.

So, what do you eat? Anything you want in moderation! What a concept. For now, however, to correct your body and control your diabetes, you need to eat as little sugar as possible, as little saturated and processed meats as possible and as few bread products as possible. What’s left? Everything grown in the ground. 

Undoing years of incorrect food consumption will not be fixed in a week or could take more than a year. Upbringing and childhood environment is extremely influential and powerful, causing a sense of belligerence when creating new eating habits. We all get grumpy when we’re hungry. But correct food choices when you are hungry will amaze you with the reward of how good you feel and you’ll lose weight without even trying. Choose when you eat your demon foods; you know what they are, but never every day! 

The best help I can offer is to suggest you keep a diary of the sugar amounts every day for a week as best as you can. It does take telling yourself “no” all the time. As adults, we should be good at saying “no.” We say no to doing high-risk activities. Eating badly is a very high-risk activity for you right now. Invite a friend to team up with you.

Our society is conditioned to throw things away when they are broken or old, but it does not apply to our bodies. How bad do you want it? You can do this! You have one body, you own it wrecked or you own it healthy, either way, you own it. 

Do you have a question? Barb Rock is a mental health counselor answering questions related to mental health, relationships or life issues and the published author of “Run Your Own Race, Happiness after 50.” Send your questions to If your anonymous question is published, you’ll receive a complimentary copy of her book. 

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