Diabetes is serious, but it is not an unbeatable obstacle. It is important for those at-risk for diabetes or who have diabetes to take it seriously and know the truth about their condition. There are a lot of myths floating around that we want to take a few minutes to bust:
1. Diabetes is Not That Serious (MYTH)
The fact of the matter is that diabetes is very serious and causes more deaths each year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. All types of diabetes (type 1, type 2 and gestational) are serious and could lead to heart disease, nerve damage, blindness, or stroke if not managed properly. However, not only are you able to manage diabetes when properly overseen by a physician, you may also prevent and delay the more serious complications of the disease when you follow a diabetes management program.
2. Being Overweight or Eating Too Much Sugar Causes Diabetes (MYTH)
First, Type 1 diabetes is caused primarily by genetics, along with other unknown factors. This myth refers primarily to Type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, it's not nearly as simple as one or two things you do leads to you developing diabetes. While being overweight is a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes and eating sugar can affect you if you have diabetes, they aren't direct cause-and-effect links.
However, being overweight and drinking sugary drinks have been linked Type 2 diabetes as risk factors, so they also shouldn't be taken lightly.
3. Diabetics Must Eat Special Diabetic Foods (MYTH)
A healthy meal plan is typically about the same for everyone and everyone should focus on eating healthy for an improved lifestyle. Those with diabetes may have to cut out the bad habits of eating foods saturated with fats, salts, and sugars, but so should everyone. In fact, some self-declared “diabetic foods” add no special benefit and still raise your blood sugar levels. It would be better to select fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats.
4. Diabetics Can’t Eat Sweets (MYTH)
Often a discouraging idea thrown around is that diabetics have a list of off limits foods that they will never be able to eat again, which includes anything sweet. This is not true. When it comes to sweets, the goal of a true diabetes management program is not to outlaw specific foods, but to encourage the patient to eat small portions on special occasions. For the majority of your meals, you should be focused on healthy foods and combining your healthy meal plans with exercise.
5. Needing Insulin Means You Aren't Caring for Your Diabetes Correctly (MYTH)
Type 2 diabetes is a disease that often results in the body producing less of its own insulin. If your doctor recommends insulin, he or she is not saying you have failed in your attempts to get your blood glucose under control. Sometimes eating correctly and oral medications just aren't enough, and that's all right. This is why a diabetes management program is so critical - by monitoring your progress, your physician can help you decide if you need insulin as part of your diabetes management as well.