Can Diabetics Eat Fish and Chips?

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Fish and Chips are the typical dish of British cuisine, made with a cod fillet fried in batter and surrounded by large and thick chips. It is served with a splash of salt and malt vinegar. It can also be accompanied by other dishes, such as boiled peas. 

It is a popular and appreciated dish in Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, and the United States.

Carbs and Fats in Fish and Chips

Although it is a dish based on white fish, which is remarkably positive for the body, the frying cooking of Fish & Chips makes this dish highly caloric and fatty. In fact, from a nutritional point of view, a serving of Fish & Chips provides almost 50% fat and 50% cholesterol compared to the daily reference value of almost 60% sodium and 25% carbohydrates. [1]

How do Fish and Chips Affect our Blood Glucose Levels?

The main ingredient of Fish and Chips is potatoes, which are rich in carbohydrates and cause glycemic peaks in the blood. Depending on the variety of potatoes and their cooking method, the glycemic index can be more or less relevant; boiled potatoes cause lower glycemic peaks than those caused by fried potatoes. [2]

On the other hand, Fish and Chips involve french fries, which can therefore cause significant glycemic peaks. Even cod, notoriously healthy, is breaded with batter and then fried, and this operation increases its caloric and glycemic index.

Tips for Having Fish and Chips with Diabetes

Unless you overturn the original Fish and Chips recipe, you can't reduce its fat and carbohydrate content. For this reason, Fish and Chips are not a dish typically suitable for those who have diabetes. If the desire to eat Fish and Chips now and then is irresistible, those diabetics could eat only a small portion of Chips and remove the fried cod batter. Although these operations do not make Fish and Chips a healthy food for those with diabetes, they at least greatly reduce the adverse effects, such as glycemic peaks and the assimilation of fats. 

Choose Grilled Fish instead of Fried Fish

Generally, fried food tends to be much fatter and more harmful than grilled food since frying generates negative and fatty substances that are absorbed into the food. [3]

In addition, fried food is often wrapped in a breading of flour, which is rich in carbohydrates and causes glycemic peaks. For these reasons, you can enjoy a delicious dish greatly reducing the negative effects by choosing Fish and Chips with grilled cod instead of fried. 

Remove the Butter

Often Fish and Chips are served with sauces to add to the main course, such as butter, ketchup, mayonnaise, or other. However, these condiments weigh down the Fish and Chips even more, increasing the percentage of fats, calories, and sugars. Therefore, for a person suffering from diabetes, it is advisable to avoid adding sauces, opting for a portion of vegetables served next to the Fish and Chips. 

Add a Serving of Mushy Peas or Baked Beans

Green peas are legumes low in sugar and calories but rich in vitamins and minerals, making them an ideal food for everyone. Also, most of the calories of peas come from carbohydrates. Still, they are complex carbohydrates. In reduced quantities, they are little absorbed, thanks to the presence of large quantities of vegetable fibers. Therefore, the carbohydrates in peas fail to cause glycemic peaks in the blood, which is dangerous and harmful for people with diabetes. [4]

According to this, Mushy Peas can be used together with Fish and Chips. When replaced with peas, it is much healthier and compatible with the diet of a patient suffering from diabetes. 

How Often Should I Eat Fish and Chips with Diabetes?

Although cod is recommended for all people, the frying provided by the Fish and Chips cancels out all its beneficial effects. Fish and Chips greatly fatigue our body, so the consumption of Fish and Chips once a week increases the risk of heart attack by 50%. People with diabetes, therefore, should keep away as much as possible from Fish and Chips and consume this dish only sporadically and in minimal quantities. [5]

Are Chips Good for Diabetes?

Despite being rich in carbohydrates, potatoes are not enemies of people with diabetes. Some varieties of potatoes are low in sugar, and choosing a suitable cooking method can reduce their effect on blood sugar even more. The worst potatoes are those fried in oil, as they absorb oil and harmful substances that develop during frying. In contrast, potatoes cooked in the oven and boiled are healthier. 

Between baked and boiled potatoes, the winning cooking method is boiling since potatoes cooling down tend to reduce their glycemic load and therefore are more compatible for a person suffering from diabetes. [2]

Is the Flour in Fish and Chips Affect my Blood Sugar Level?

Flour is used in Fish and Chips to bread cod, and it not only weighs down the fish due to frying but also adds a significant source to the recipe. Flour is rich in carbohydrates, which are added to the sugars in potatoes, forming an often toxic mix due to the glycemic peaks triggered in the body. However, some flours are much more favorable for people with diabetes, such as almond, coconut, and chickpea flours. Choosing one of these flours will not make Fish and Chips healthier, but it will reduce the harmful effects on the body. [6]

Final Thoughts

Fish and Chips are a delicious food that has spread to various parts of the world. However, its cooking method based on frying is a hefty dish and harmful to the body. Reducing the portion of French fries is recommended if it is hard to resist its taste. 

Or you can replace them with Mushy Peas and remove the cod breading as much as possible. Alternatively, you can opt for a dish based on grilled cod and boiled potato salad: the original recipe of Fish and Chips will have been altered, but on the other hand, the body will have many benefits. 








Author: Ahmed Huang

Official staff of Sinocare.

Note: All information on Sinocare blog articles is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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