diabetes myths and facts

7 Common Diabetes Myths And Facts

Would you make any significant health-related decisions in life based on diabetes myths and facts?

You bet 99.99% will base it on facts. 

So, let's get the myths out of the way, shall we?

Why not cure some of us of the common diabetes myths?

But why diabetes? Simply because the number of diabetics is increasing year after year all around the world and in India. In fact, India is termed the diabetic capital (17% of world diabetics) of the world. India is home to 80 million diabetics, the second-highest in the world after China. (Source: International Diabetes Federation, 2022)

I believe in the premise that 'prevention is better than cure.' How about you?

What better time than now, when World Diabetes Day is around the corner (November 14th)?

Early diabetes diagnosis is crucial to managing the chronic disease. Some of the diabetes-common myths are going to be dispelled in this piece. The different forms of diabetes include type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.

Eating Sugar Causes Diabetes

Excessive sugar consumption, especially from added sugars, can lead to weight gain, particularly around the abdomen. This excess body fat increases the risk of insulin resistance, a critical factor in developing type 2 diabetes.

High-sugar diets cause frequent blood sugar spikes, straining the body's insulin response and increasing diabetes risk. To lower this risk, maintain a balanced diet with moderate sugar intake, primarily from natural sources like fruits. Reducing sugary snacks, drinks, and processed foods is crucial for healthy weight management and diabetes prevention, alongside physical activity and stress management.

In summary, while sugar consumption alone doesn't directly cause diabetes, it can contribute to weight gain and obesity, which are significant risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Managing sugar intake, maintaining a balanced diet, and adopting a healthy lifestyle can help reduce the risk of developing this metabolic condition.

Diabetes is Not Serious

Diabetes is a severe disease that affects millions of people worldwide. While it can be managed with proper care and treatment, it is essential to recognize the potential complications that can arise if diabetes is not well-controlled. From cardiovascular problems to vision loss, kidney disease, nerve damage, and impaired wound healing, diabetes can have a significant impact on a person's health and overall well-being. Understanding the seriousness of diabetes is crucial to promoting effective management and taking proactive steps to minimize the risk of complications.

Diabetes risk factors include cardiovascular issues, neuropathy, nephropathy, retinopathy, foot complications, infections, diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), hyperglycemic hyperosmolar state (HHS), and psychological impact.

Cardiovascular issues include heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and atherosclerosis. Neuropathy can cause nerve damage that manifests as pain, tingling, or a loss of sensation, predominantly in the hands and feet. Nephropathy can lead to kidney damage and eventual kidney failure.

Retinopathy can cause vision problems, including blindness. Foot complications can elevate the risk of foot ulcers, infections, and, in severe cases, amputations. Elevated blood sugar levels can compromise the immune system, rendering individuals with diabetes more vulnerable to infections.

Uncontrolled type 1 (not a mild form of diabetes) can precipitate diabetic ketoacidosis, a life-threatening condition requiring prompt treatment. Another type of diabetes (type 2) can lead to a medical emergency characterized by an extremely high concentration of blood sugar. Living with diabetes can exact a psychological toll, resulting in feelings of anxiety and depression.

In summary, diabetes is a serious medical condition that can lead to various complications affecting different body parts. Effective management, including blood sugar control, lifestyle adjustments, and regular medical care, is essential in preventing or delaying diabetes complications and making sure of a better quality of life for individuals with diabetes.

Diabetes Only Affects People who are Overweight or Obese

While it's true that excess weight is a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes, it's crucial to dispel that myth. Understanding the broader factors at play is essential for early detection, prevention, and effective diabetes management, irrespective of an individual's weight.

Given the potential for complications, effective diabetes care is imperative. This typically involves lifestyle choices, medication, insulin therapy in some cases, regular monitoring of blood sugar levels, and frequent medical check-ups.

It is crucial to recognize that, with proper management, much of this chronic condition can be prevented or delayed. This encompasses maintaining a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and adhering to prescribed treatments.

In summary, diabetes is a progressive disease with a diverse array of complications that can impact various aspects of the body. Effective management, encompassing control of blood sugar levels, lifestyle adaptations, and consistent medical care, is indispensable in averting or postponing these complications.

Diabetics Cannot Eat Carbs or Chocolate

One common diabetes diet myth is that individuals with diabetes cannot enjoy sweets or chocolate, which has persisted for years, contributing to the belief that those with this condition must lead a life of strict dietary restrictions and deprivation.

Here are some crucial points to consider:

Opting for dark chocolate with a higher cocoa content or sweets made with alternatives (sugar alcohols) can be a better choice for managing blood glucose control.

The diabetes healthcare team can support in devising meal plans that allow for occasional sweet treats without causing blood sugar spikes. These plans are designed to control carbohydrate intake, promoting stable blood sugar levels.

Regularly tracking blood glucose levels is essential. Eating them on an empty stomach or in excessive amounts can lead to fluctuations in blood sugar. The good news is that people with diabetes can allow themselves indulgent treats but restrict them to special occasions.

Diabetics Should Eat Only Special Foods

The belief that individuals with diabetes must exclusively consume "special diabetic foods" has led to the proliferation of a market segment dedicated to producing these specialized products.

Rather than relying on specialized foods, individuals can learn to control their carb intake through portion control and making informed food choices. People with diabetes do not need to depend on specialized diabetic foods. This includes a variety of foods that provide essential nutrients. 

A well-rounded diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats is fundamental for overall health and diabetes management.  The primary emphasis for people with diabetes should be on consuming a balanced and healthy diet. It provides a broader spectrum of nutrients and flavours, surpassing what specialized diabetic foods can provide.

The key to effective diabetes management lies in adopting a balanced and diverse diet that includes a wide range of foods rather than relying on specialized products.

Insulin Cures Diabetes

A common myth is that people with type 2 diabetes must exclusively consume "special diabetic foods".This has led to the misconception that these specialized products are the only way to manage the condition effectively.

It is often prescribed for individuals with diabetes, especially those with type 1 diabetes and some with type 2 diabetes, to regulate blood sugar levels.

Effective management encompasses various components, including lifestyle modifications, healthy choices, diabetes medications, and, in some cases, insulin therapy.

The common myths about diabetes include the idea that insulin can serve as a cure. The key distinction to emphasize is that insulin helps manage diabetes by controlling blood sugar levels, but it does not remove the condition.

A cure for diabetes involves addressing the fundamental factors that cause the disease, which insulin injection does not achieve. Insulin, which unlocks cells, is a valuable treatment for diabetes, but it serves to manage the disease rather than provide a cure.

Diabetics Cannot Participate in Sports or Exercise

By dispelling this myth and emphasizing the importance of proper management, it becomes clear that individuals with diabetes can lead active, fulfilling lives that include sports and exercise.

Individuals with diabetes should track their blood sugar levels, recognize the signs of hypoglycemia, and make the necessary adjustments to their exercise routines. Physical activity is highly encouraged for individuals with diabetes as it contributes to better cardiovascular health, increased energy levels, weight management, controlled blood pressure, and improved mental well-being. Exercise enhances insulin sensitivity, allowing the body to regulate blood glucose levels better.

In summary, it is essential to correct the myth that people with diabetes cannot participate in sports or exercise. By encouraging physical activity as part of a well-managed diabetes care plan, we empower individuals with diabetes to lead active, fulfilling lives.

Conclusion: Diabetes Myths and Facts

Dispelling diabetes myths and facts is essential for understanding this condition. Effective management through medication, diet, exercise, and regular check-ups is possible. Carbs should be managed, not removed. Special diabetic foods are unnecessary. Insulin is essential but not curative. Exercise is beneficial, and diabetes isn't solely weight-dependent. Sweets can be enjoyed in moderation. Raising awareness and offering support empowers individuals to lead healthy lives, fostering understanding and inclusivity.


Can exercise reduce diabetes?

People with diabetes need to exercise and should avoid a sedentary life. Discuss this with your healthcare professional.

What lifestyle choices can help prevent diabetes?

People with diabetes may maintain a healthy weight and need to get exercise.  A healthy eating plan is a fundamental requirement.

What daily routine can help control sugar levels?

Overall, people with diabetes may follow positive health behaviours regarding all aspects of their lives so that diabetic medicine works efficiently.

Usha Menon

With over 25 years of experience as an architect, urban designer, and green building consultant, Usha has been designing sustainable, and visionary spaces. She has published a book, has been actively blogging, and is on social media. Now, her journey is transitioning to full-time writing. Her words will continue to craft stories, not brick and mortar, but in the realm of ideas, fostering a better, more inspired world.

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