“Diabetes is a contagious disease”……”eating too much sugar causes diabetes”..”If you have diabetes then you can never eat sweets”……and the list goes on. Can you differentiate between the myths and facts related to diabetes? If no, then you are the one amongst those diabetics who is lost in the huge list of these myths. So, get acquainted with the diabetes facts so that next time you can decide what is right for your health.
1) Myth: Eating too much sugar causes Diabetes.
Fact: Type I Diabetes is caused by destruction insulin producing beta cells of pancreas, which is unrelated to sugar consumption. Type II Diabetes results from body’s inability to produce enough insulin. Although the tendency to get type II Diabetes is genetically inherited in most of the cases, eating too much sugar can cause weight gain, which can increase the risk of developing Diabetes.
2) Myth: You can catch Diabetes from someone else.
Fact: Although we are unaware about why some people get diabetes, we know diabetes is not contagious. It can’t be caught like a flu or cold. There seems to be some genetic link in diabetes, especially type II diabetes. Lifestyle factors also play a major role.
3) Myth: Diabetes is not a serious disease.
Fact: Diabetes causes more deaths than any other major illnesses like breast cancer. Two out of three people with diabetes die due to heart disease or stroke.
4) Myth: People with diabetes need to eat special diabetic food.
Fact: A healthy meal plan for diabetics is same as a healthy diet for anyone – high in whole grain foods, fruits and vegetables, moderate in salt and sugar and low in fat (especially saturated and trans fats).
5) Myth: If you have diabetes you should eat only small amounts of starchy foods like potatoes, pasta and bread.
Fact: Starchy foods are a part of healthy meal plan. What is important is portion size. For most of the people with diabetes, having 3 to 4 servings of carbohydrate containing foods per meal is right. Whole grain starchy foods are also a good source of fibres. Whole grain pasta, breads, cereals, starchy vegetables like potatoes, peas and corn can be included in your meals and snacks. The key is portions.
6) Myth: People with diabetes can’t eat sweets.
Fact: The management of carbohydrate intake is the most critical part of diabetes management as diabetes affects entire body. If sweets are eaten as a part of healthy meal plan, or combined with exercise, sweets and deserts can be eaten by people with diabetes. The key to sweets is to have very small portion and to save them for special occasions so you focus your meal on healthier foods. This will help you to keep your blood sugar levels near normal, feel healthy and prevent long term complications.
7) Myth: If you are overweight or obese, you will eventually develop type II diabetes.
Fact: Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for developing diabetes, but other risk factors such as family history, age and ethnicity also play a major role. However too many people think weight to be the only risk factor for type II diabetes and disregard other risk factors. Most overweight people never develop diabetes and many of the people with type II diabetes are at a normal weight or only moderately overweight.
8) Myth: If you have diabetes and you need to take insulin, it means you are failing to take care of your blood sugar levels properly.
Fact: All the people with type I diabetes need to take insulin as their pancreas no longer produce insulin. For most people, type II diabetes is a progressive disease. Initially many people with type II diabetes can keep their blood sugar at a healthy level with oral medications. But over a period of time, body gradually produces less and less of its own insulin and eventually oral medications may not be enough to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Using insulin to get blood sugar to a healthy level is a good thing, not a bad one.
9) Myth: Diabetes will eventually lead to blindness or amputation.
Fact: Controlling your blood sugars means having little to no risk of any health issues like eye problems or having to undergo amputation. You need to be cognitive of what is happening in your body and know how to make modifications to avoid diabetes complications. Diet control, exercise, regular check up, medications and awareness are the cornerstones of Diabetes management.
10) Myth: Diabetics can feel whether their blood sugar levels are high or low.
Fact: There is no way for sure that will tell you your blood sugar levels, except for testing them. Although some diabetics may feel physical symptoms like extreme thirst, hunger, fatigue when blood sugar levels are high or low but some people may not show any symptoms even if their blood sugar levels are very high or low. And also some of the symptoms of high and low blood sugar levels are similar; it becomes difficult to know exactly what it means. The only potion to make it sure is get your blood sugar level tested.
Best of Luck !!