Fruit juice. Although 100-percent juice provides vitamins and minerals, Dierks recommends whole fruit instead. “Fruit provides more fiber, which slows the rise in blood sugar and increases satiety,” Dierks says. “Too many people forget about the calories and carbs in beverages, which can really add up over the course of a day.”

Trans fat. Beyond being hazardous to your ticker, several studies suggest that trans fat found in some baked goods, buttery spreads, and fried foods increases diabetes risk. On labels, watch out for “partially hydrogenated” oils or vegetable shortening.

Processed meats. A higher consumption of processed and red meats such as hot dogs and bacon appears to raise type 2 diabetes risk. Scientists think preservatives such as nitrites and nitrates in these meats may be toxic to the cells in the pancreas responsible for making insulin.

Sugary drinks. Even one sugar- or high-fructose corn syrup–loaded beverage—such as soda, fruit punch, or energy drinks—per day can increase type 2 diabetes risk. To keep the pounds off and blood sugar level, drink unsweetened iced tea, low-fat milk, unsweetened soy or hemp milk, or water with freshly squeezed lemon.

Diet drinks. Avoiding sugary drinks may not be enough. A 2009 study found that among more than 6,000 adults studied, those who drank diet soft drinks every day were 67 percent more likely than those who did not to develop type 2 diabetes. They also had higher blood sugar elevations and dangerous weight gain around the middle. The researchers surmise that artificially sweetened drinks may wet your appetite for sweets, causing you to overindulge in sugary foods when given the chance.