Diabetes can be a difficult disease to understand. This is due, in part, to the fact that there are several myths and misconceptions about the disease. It can make it difficult for people to recognize and understand the true facts regarding this ailment, such as diabetes being a serious and life-altering disease. These myths can create a distorted and inaccurate picture of the disease that is full of stereotypes and half-truths. As such, it is important to know the facts about diabetes and understand how to manage the disease in order to safeguard one’s health. In an effort to better understand the disease, here are 10 myths about diabetes demystified.
- Sufferers Should Avoid White Foods–There is a common myth that white food is bad for diabetics because it contains sugar, starch, and lacks nutrition. However, the truth of the matter is this misconception is misleading and has no scientific basis behind it. Portion size has more impact on blood sugar levels than the food itself.
- Diabetics Should Avoid Fruit–Another common myth associated with the disease is that sufferers should avoid all fruit products. It is important for those affected by high blood sugar levels to become familiar with the sugar and carbohydrate content of various fruits as well as vegetables. This is especially true of fruits that sufferers enjoy most. By learning these nutritional facts, diabetics can have their favorite fruits in moderation without sabotaging their blood sugar levels. As with most dietary standards, it is recommended that individuals monitoring their blood sugar levels incorporate at least five servings of fruits or vegetables into their daily diet.
- Sufferers Must Snack to Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Levels–This myth regarding the ailment stemmed from the early days of diabetes treatment protocol. When few medications were available on the market to treat the disease, sufferers were encouraged to snack between meals to help prevent blood glucose levels from dropping too low and help stabilize the levels over time. Alas, with today’s treatment options and a better understanding about the disease, this is no longer the case. The truth is it depends on the individual in question. If snacking during the day helps a diabetic eat less and healthier, then snacking options should be incorporated into a sufferer’s daily diet. Conversely, if a person tends to overindulge with snacks, it is wise to focus on meal planning and the timing of one’s medication in order to prevent dangerously low blood sugar levels.
- Diet Is a Diabetic’s Only Concern–This is another common myth associated with diabetes that needs to be demystified. While diet is an important component in managing the disease, it is only one piece of the overall puzzle. Many factors, such as nutrition, activity level, age, medication, regular testing of blood sugar levels, and a person’s diagnosis, play pivotal roles in maintaining one’s health and well-being, as well as controlling the effects of the disease.
- All Diabetics Are Alike–This common myth and misconception regarding the disease must be demystified. It is of utmost importance to note that not every sufferer fits specific criteria. For instance, there are vast differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes as well as those individuals affected by the disease. Moreover, an individual who is diagnosed as pre-diabetic would be introduced to a different treatment protocol than someone who has received a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes or is insulin-dependent. Furthermore, not all Type 2 diabetics will be required to receive insulin treatment. Many diabetics can successfully treat their condition via diet, exercise, and/or oral medications.
An important aspect of understanding diabetes involves learning the facts and demystifying the myths associated with the disease. Contrary to another common myth, the ailment is, in fact, a serious, chronic, and life-altering condition that requires monitoring and treatment. However, the treatment protocol varies and is based on the individual affected. Many factors, such as exercise, diet, age, other health conditions, etc., play into a diabetic’s treatment plan, overall health, and well-being. In most cases, regular follow-up visits with a family doctor and/or nutritionist are often recommended to ensure good health and wellness in the present as well as future. All of these aspects work together to help sufferers understand diabetes and demystify the myths associated with it.
Written and Edited by Leigh Haugh
American Diabetes Association–Diabetes Myths
Healthline–Type 2 Myths and Misconceptions
Lifescript–Diabetes Facts: 10 Common Myths Busted
WebMD–Diabetes and Food: 5 Myths and Facts