Knowing the facts about diabetes is vital for management. However, when information is readily available on sources such as the internet, untrue statements can be widely perpetuated about a topic. This can cause confusion about what to believe.
Continue reading to learn about the six common diabetes myths and the truth about them!
Myth #1. “Living with Obesity is the Only Cause of Type 2 Diabetes”
Living with obesity can increase the chances of developing type 2 diabetes. However, it does not necessarily mean someone will have the condition. Other risk factors—such as genetics, ethnicity and age—also play a role. According to Endocrine Web, type 2 diabetes can run in families. That doesn’t imply type 2 diabetes is inevitable if your parents have the condition. Instead, this means you may be at a higher risk of developing diabetes. It’s important not to blame yourself, regardless of the cause. Instead, concentrate on management with lifestyle modifications and medicine!
Myth #2. “People with Diabetes Cannot Under Any Circumstances Have Chocolate or Sugary Foods”
Those living with diabetes can consume chocolate and sugary foods. However, moderation and measuring blood sugar levels is key! You can eat many foods, as long as they are incorporated into an overall healthy and well-balanced diet. According to the American Diabetes Association, the key to consuming sweets is to manage your portion sizes and limit your consumption of sweets to special occasions. Doing so will help you focus on healthier foods. Also, consider not eating sweets by themselves or in large quantities, as this can result in a blood sugar spike, according to Healthline. Working with a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) can help you build a meal plan that can incorporate foods you like for a well-balanced diet!
Myth #3. “You Can Cure Type 2 Diabetes Simply by Exercising”
Type 2 diabetes is treatable but not curable, per se. According to Sinai Health, while lifestyle changes can result one to experience ‘remission,’ the body is still in a state of decreased metabolic function in terms of blood sugar management. Moderate exercise for those living with diabetes has proven beneficial to general health management. Starting small and going for a 20-minute walk, a hike, or a bike ride can make significant differences to your emotional and physical wellbeing!
Myth #4. “People with Diabetes Have to Have Special Foods that People Without Diabetes People do not Need”
Those living with diabetes do not have to eat different foods than those without diabetes. Many foods are marketed as being “diabetes friendly.” However, these foods can still raise your blood sugar, according to the American Diabetes Association. Foods with such labels also tend to be more expensive. The best way to have a balanced eating plan is to consult a Registered Dietician (RD) or a CDE. When managing diabetes, it is essential to remember that your nutritional needs are the same as any other person’s. Therefore, you do not need foods marketed as “diabetes-friendly”; individuals living with diabetes can eat the same food as anyone else! The key is moderation.
Myth #5. “I Can Stop Taking Medication for Diabetes If I Can Control my Blood Sugar”
Some individuals can manage, but not reverse, their symptoms of type 2 diabetes through weight loss, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. However, according to Medline Plus, diabetes is a progressive condition. Therefore, over time, you may require medication to keep your blood sugar in the target range. Lifestyle changes, combined with medication, can really benefit your physical and mental health, both now and in the long-term!
Myth #6. “Healthy Foods Like Fruits Won't Raise My Blood Sugar, So I Can Eat as Much as I Want”
Eating healthy foods is beneficial, whether you are living with diabetes or not. Eating healthy grains and fibres help with vitamin and carbohydrate intake, and fruits have many health benefits. Nonetheless, the key, as with all things, is moderation. Having too much of a healthy thing is still too much and can still raise blood sugar levels. The current nutritional guidelines recommend having balanced meals. They suggest having whole fruits and vegetables instead of juices which can be high in their sugar content. Healthy foods like fruit can and should be a part of your diet; but remember that portion control is key!
Knowing the facts about diabetes can make managing the condition less stressful and can preserve your health. If you have questions about diabetes, speak to your physician or CDE to ensure you are getting information from an accredited source.
ADA Writers. “Myths about Diabetes.” Myths about Diabetes | ADA, American Diabetes Association, 2019, www.diabetes.org/diabetes-risk/prediabetes/myths-about-diabetes.
Bridgepoint Active Care. “Type 2 Diabetes: Myths vs Facts.” Sinai Health, 14 Nov. 2018, www.sinaihealth.ca/news/type-2-diabetes-myths-vs-facts.
DiabetesCanada Writers. “Basic Meal Planning.” DiabetesCanada, DiabetesCanada, 21 July 2021, www.diabetes.ca/resources/tools—resources/basic-meal-planning.
Leontis, Lisa M., and Amy Hess-Fischl. “Type 2 Diabetes CAUSES.” EndocrineWeb, EndocrineWeb, 6 July 2018, www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/type-2-diabetes/type-2-diabetes-causes.
Manfred, Erica. “9 Type 2 DIABETES Myths Debunked.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 29 Sept. 2018, www.healthline.com/health/type-2-diabetes/myths-and-misconceptions#8.-People-with-diabetes-cant-eat-sweets.
Raymond, Joan. “Can You Stop Diabetes Meds: What to Ask Your Doctor.” WebMD, WebMD, 3 May 2016, www.webmd.com/diabetes/features/stop-diabetes-meds-doctor.
Wisse, Brent. “Diabetes Myths and Facts.” MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 24 Jan. 2019, medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000964.htm.