Three Health Foods That May Be Sneakily Spiking Your Blood Sugar

When you think of blood-sugar-spiking foods, you likely imagine sugary sweet treats and processed carbohydrates, like the ones found in many junk foods. But did you know that certain foods, often thought of as healthy, can also spike your blood sugar?

Before delving into the foods that can cause an unhealthy rise in blood sugar after eating, it's important to understand what we mean by a blood sugar spike. Verywell Health explains that the food we eat is converted into the sugar, glucose, which the body then uses as fuel. If there is too much of this glucose in the bloodstream at any given point in time, this leads to high blood sugar, also known as hyperglycemia. In non-diabetic individuals, hyperglycemia is linked to eating excessive amounts of sugar and carbohydrates. If this eating pattern continues over time, the high blood sugar can cause damage to the internal components of the body and even lead to diabetes and other health conditions.

A 2018 study out of the Stanford University School of Medicine found that many people regularly experience unhealthy blood glucose spikes even when otherwise considered healthy. Author of the study, Michael Snyder, explained, "We saw that some folks who think they're healthy actually are misregulating glucose — sometimes at the same severity of people with diabetes — and they have no idea." The type of foods consumed was found to be a major cause of these blood sugar spikes.

Pay extra attention to these three health foods

Dr. Casey Means, spoke with Mindbodygreen about the three health foods that have been known to cause unhealthy blood sugar spikes when consumed. The first is grapes. Means reveals that our tendency to eat grapes on their own as a snack is likely the reason they cause such huge leaps in blood glucose levels. She explains that without an accompanying fat or protein to balance out the sugar levels, grapes can wreak havoc on our blood sugar. The good news is that you don't have to stop eating grapes to avoid this problem — simply pair them with yogurt or a bit of avocado to balance your body's blood sugar response.

The second health food is oatmeal (per Mindbodygreen). While oats on their own won't cause too much of a spike, choosing the wrong toppings will. Means advises oatmeal lovers to avoid high-sugar toppings, such as maple syrup and chocolate chips, and to go for healthy fats instead. A handful of nuts or chia seeds mixed in with your oatmeal will keep your blood sugar stable.

The third health food found to spike blood sugar levels is beans (via Mindbodygreen). The catch is that beans won't have the same effect on everyone — some people may see blood glucose hikes while others won't. Research has pointed to the gut microbiome as responsible for this difference, although further studies are needed to get a better idea.