Diabetes Myths and Facts

There are many myths surrounding diabetes, which contribute to an inaccurate and stereotyped perception of this disease. Here are some common myths:

Myth or Fact:

  • Diabetes is not a serious disease.

Myth. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death in Mexico; it causes more deaths each year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.

  • People who are overweight or obese will get type 2 diabetes.

Fact: Being overweight is a risk factor for diabetes, but there are other factors that may contribute to getting diabetes, such as family history, race, age, diet, and physical activity.

  • Eating too much candy causes diabetes.

Fact: It is not that simple. Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetic factors, although it is not necessarily hereditary; while type 2 diabetes is caused by genetic and lifestyle factors.

Being overweight or obese increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and a diet high in calories from any source leads to weight gain. Studies show that drinking sugary beverages or eating foods with a high sugar content are associated with the lifestyle risks of contracting type 2 diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that people limit their consumption of sugary drinks to help prevent diabetes. Sugary drinks include:

  • Regular soda
  • Fruit Punch
  • Fruit juice
  • Energy drinks
  • Sports drinks
  • Sweet Tea


  • People with diabetes need to eat special diabetic foods only.

Myth: A healthy eating plan for people with diabetes is generally the same as a healthy eating plan for anyone: low in fat (especially saturated and trans fats), moderate salt and sugar intake, containing whole-grains, vegetables, and fruit. Foods for diabetics in general do not offer any special benefits, except in the case of low-sugar candy or desserts, which, although they may contain less sugar, still increase blood glucose levels.

  • If you have diabetes you cannot eat starchy foods.

Myth: Starchy foods can be part of a healthy eating plan, but portion size is key. Although food such as bread, corn tortillas, cereals, pasta, cookies, rice, corn, potatoes, legumes (beans, lentils, broad beans), fruit, and juice elevate blood glucose levels, they may be part of your diet; however, you should consult a specialist health team.

  • People with diabetes cannot eat candy or desserts.

Myth: People with diabetes can eat candy and desserts if they eat them as part of a healthy eating plan supervised by their nutritionist and in combination with exercise. These foods are not prohibited; the key is to know how to eat them, exercise portion control and reserve them for special occasions only.

  • Fruit is a healthy food, so it’s okay to eat as much as you want.

Myth: Fruit is a healthy food. It contains fiber, as well as lots of vitamins and minerals. But fruit also contains carbohydrates or sugars, which should be taken into consideration when meal planning. You should consult a nutritionist regarding the amount, frequency, and types of fruits you can eat.

  • Diabetes is contagious.

Myth: No. Diabetes is not contagious. There are several causes for contracting it, such as genetic factors and lifestyle.


Source: American Diabetes Association

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