ABC Medical Center > Digital magazine > Diabetes myths and facts

Diabetes myths and facts

28 November 2018

There are many myths about diabetes that create an incorrect image full of stereotypes. We invite you to know some:

Myth or Reality:

Diabetes is not a serious disease.

Myth. Diabetes is one of the main causes of mortality 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 have type 2 diabetes.

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

Eating too many sweets causes diabetes.

Fact: The answer is not so simple. The cause of type 1 diabetes is genetic factors, not necessarily hereditary, that trigger the disease. The cause of type 2 diabetes is genetic and lifestyle factors.

Overweight and obesity increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, and any kind of high-calorie diet leads to weight gain. Studies show that drinking sugary drinks or eating foods that provide lots of sugars are associated with lifestyle risks for type 2 diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that people limit their intake of sugar-sweetened beverages to help prevent diabetes. Among sugary drinks are:

  • Regular soft drinks
  • Fruit punch
  • Fruit juice
  • Energy drinks
  • Sport drinks
  • Sweet tea

People with diabetes should eat only special diabetic foods.

Myth: A healthy eating plan for people with diabetes is generally the same as anyone’s healthy eating plan: low fat (especially saturated and trans fat), moderate salt and sugar, whole-grain foods, vegetables, and fruit. Diabetic food, in general, does not offer any special benefits, unless they are low-sugar candies or desserts. Although they contain less amount, they also increase blood sugar levels.

With diabetes, carbohydrates cannot be consumed.

Myth: Carbohydrates can be part of a healthy eating plan, but the key is portion size. Foods such as bread, tortillas, cereals, pasta, crackers, rice, corn, potatoes, legumes (beans, lentils, broad beans), fruit, and juices can raise blood sugar. They may be part of the diet, however, it is necessary to consult a specialized health team.

People with diabetes cannot eat sweets or desserts.

Myth: People with diabetes can eat sweets and desserts if eaten as part of a healthy eating plan supervised by their nutritionist and together with exercise. These foods are not prohibited, the key is to know how to eat, distinguish the portion, and save them for special occasions.

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

Myth: Fruit is a healthy food. It contains fiber, many vitamins, and minerals. But fruits contain carbohydrates or sugars that must be counted in the meal plan. A nutrition specialist should be consulted about the amount, frequency, and types of fruits that can be consumed.

Diabetes is contagious.

Myth: No. Diabetes is not contagious. There are various causes to acquire it, such as genetic factors and lifestyle.

At ABC Medical Center’s Diabetes Clinic, we can provide you with specialized care. Contact us!

American Diabetes Association

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