We are getting a lot of questions and feedback regarding diabetes. And a lot of those questions turned out to be commonly spread misinformation and diabetes myths.
So today, let’s take a look at 5 common myths about diabetes and try to find out if there was an actual truth behind them.
Myth 1: People with diabetes can’t eat sugar.
This is one of the most common diabetes myths, that people with the condition have to eat a sugar-free diet. While eating excess sugar is certainly bad for you, sugar is what your body uses as a fuel.
If you stop eating the required amount of sugar – you are actually hurting your body. That is why – people with diabetes need to eat a diet that is balanced, which can include some sugar in moderation, with optimum levels of proteins, balanced amount of healthy fats and carbs.
Also, they should eat fiber rich food such as fruits and salad which promote glucose control and gut health.
Myth 2: Type 2 diabetes is a mild disease.
This diabetes myth is widely repeated, but of course, it isn’t true. No form of diabetes is mild. When the body fails to control its sugar levels – it leads to serious (even life-threatening) complications. Cell injury and inflammation lead to vision problems, heart problems, blood vessel problems, kidney problems, liver problems and many others.
Virtually every organ in the body is susceptible to damage due to diabetes. Diabetes causes approximately 4 million deaths each year, but good control of diabetes can significantly decrease the risk of complications but this doesn’t mean the condition itself is not serious.
Always prioritize your health above everything else.
Myth 3: Diabetes cannot be cured and it is a lifelong disease.
It’s true that a permanent “cure” for diabetes has not been found but diabetes can be brought into “remission”, especially in the early stages.
Doctors use the term remission when diabetes is brought under control. When you are told that your diabetes is in remission it means that there are no more outward symptoms of the disease. It can be a partial remission when the blood glucose level is lower than that of a diabetic for more than a year without medication.
Remission can also be complete when blood glucose has returned to normal for at least a year without medication and it can also be a prolonged remission when blood sugar level has been normal for at least five years.
If detected early and managed properly there is a good chance of ensuring your diabetes will go into remission. Managing your diet, exercising regularly, taking proper medication, avoiding stress and regular checkups with your doctor will help you to get diabetes under remission.
Myth 4 : Diabetes only affects people who are obese.
Overweight and obesity are risk factors for Type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes but the condition can occur in people of any weight. Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes have no associations with body weight. But that said, in people who are both overweight and diabetic – losing weight can have a big impact.
Although it might not cure Type 2 diabetes, getting to a healthy body weight does lower the need for insulin therapy or other medications to control diabetes. It also lowers the risk for other serious complications of diabetes, including heart problems, kidney disease and nerve damage.
Myth 5 : People with diabetes should eat “Diabetic-friendly” foods.
Diabetic food is an emerging myth I’ve seen in the past few years. Manufacturers will often use the label ‘diabetic-friendly’ for sweet foods in which, sugar alcohols or other sweeteners, will be used instead of sugar.
With a very low to even zero calorie sugar count, artificial sweeteners may seem like a treat for people with diabetes. But recent research indicates that artificial sweeteners may actually be counterintuitive, especially if you’re looking to manage or prevent diabetes.
Another 2014 study found that these sugars, such as saccharin, can change your gut bacteria composition. This change can cause glucose intolerance, which is the first step towards diabetes in adults. So, to be on a safer side, try to limit your total added sugar intake rather than switching to sugar substitutes.
Diabetes is no longer a death sentence like it was in the 20th century. Back then, the only effective treatment was a strict diabetic diet which meant incredible weight loss. Drugs like insulin have revolutionized the way we treat diabetes today.