Can people with diabetes eat potatoes?
Is your blood glucose affected by fruits and veggies?
Is drinking alcohol safe for diabetics?
These are some of the questions that pop up in the minds of people with diabetes.
As per the latest statistics, around 65 million Indians suffer from different levels and different types of diabetes. It is referred to as the silent killer. The disease is dreaded even more because of the myths and misconceptions surrounding it.Being active and regular physical activity helps in maintaining your sugar level. Click To Tweet
People often think that they cannot eat well if they have diabetes. This is not so. You just need to make smart choices without having to give up your favorite foods. Let’s separate some myths from the facts about healthy food choices for diabetics.
Myth 1: If I eat sugar I will get diabetes
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Fact: Diabetes is not caused by eating sugar. Relatively, it is a reaction to an intricate balance-imbalance between the carbs and sugars coming in. It is also a result of family’s history of diabetes and the way your body adjusts to all these. Type 1 diabetes is caused by the destruction of the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas and this has nothing to do with the consumption of sugar. The body’s failure to respond to insulin normally results in Type 2 diabetes. Generally Type 2 diabetes is inherited but eating high amounts of sugar can lead to weight gain, which increases the risk for developing this type of diabetes.
Myth 2: I have diabetes so I can’t exercise
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Fact: This is one of the greatest misconceptions among people. Studies have shown that being active and doing regular physical activity helps in maintaining your sugar level. But before starting on your exercise regime, consult your doctor on how to keep a track of your blood sugar level with workout. It is always better to keep a snack in your hand in case you need to bring your blood sugar back up after your workout session. If you feel weak while exercising, it is an indication to take a break.
Myth 3: Diabetes has no symptoms
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Fact: Some people believe that there are no symptoms of diabetes and only doctor can tell it. No wonder, many people suffering from it don’t even know about it. However it is not true. Diabetes has some early warning signs but people often neglect them. Some of the easy recognizable signs include feeling dehydrated even after drinking a lot of water, drinking more fluids than normally you do, feeling of tiredness and hunger every now and then, or weight loss even without making any changes in your diet or lifestyle. If you do notice any such symptoms it’s time to go to a doctor.
Myth 4: With diabetes, pregnancy is not possible
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Fact: “People are worried about the risk to themselves and their child, or worry that they can’t become pregnant at all, particularly in those with type 1; but that’s just not true anymore,” says David G. Marrero, PhD, president of Health Care & Education at the American Diabetes Association. “This myth stems from a time when diabetes was poorly controlled and understood.” Complications like preterm birth arise only if you are not cautious in maintaining your sugar level. With proper care and monitoring normal pregnancies are possible.
Myth 5: I have diabetes, I am more likely to catch a cold
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Fact: Absolutely not. Being diabetic does not mean that you can catch cold and flu more easily than non-diabetic people. This has been proved by the American Diabetes Association. However, if you are ill it becomes little difficult to maintain your blood sugar levels.
Myth 6: I can feel when my blood sugar levels are too low or too high
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Fact: Some of the early symptoms of high blood sugar are so mild that people overlook them. For instance, you may attribute your tiredness to the cold you had few days back. Maybe it’s a sign of high sugar level. So it is very important to get it tested by the doctor. This will alert you to the drop or the hike before your body gives you any signal. Also you will get to know how diet and exercise can help you maintain your blood sugar levels. When your blood sugar is too low you become hypoglycemic which means you may experience sweating or shakiness. But according to Deena Adimoolam, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Endocrinology, Obesity & Metabolism at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, long-term diabetics develop “hypoglycemia unawareness,” which means they lose the ability to feel these symptoms as time goes on.
Myth 7: Diabetics have to follow a strict, no-sugar diet
Fact: Whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, you don’t have to do away with your desserts. People often live with this misconception that if they have diabetes, they have to follow a no-sugar diet. This is not true at all. For people with Type 1, the solution is moderation in sugar intake. Keep a small portion of sweets in your diet. People with Type 2 should know how to adjust their dose of insulin with the sugary carbs.
Myth 8: Being overweight leads to diabetes
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Fact: There is no single reason that causes diabetes. It is the combined result of genetic factors, your lifestyle and physiological factors. So do not think that if you are overweight, you are bound to have diabetes. It’s true that weight is a dangerous factor but lean people also have diabetes and there are many obese people who do not have it. Infact a research revealed that around 15% of people having Type 2 diabetes had normal weight.
Myth 9: Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are the same
Fact: Sorry, but no. There’s a big difference between the two. Type 1 diabetes means that your body doesn’t produce insulin. Our body needs insulin which is produced by the pancreas. This insulin gives us the energy in the form of glucose. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease which means that the body itself destroys the insulin-producing cells. On the other hand, Type 2 diabetes is caused when your body doesn’t use the insulin effectively. So there is a requirement of extra insulin.
Myth 10: I have diabetes, I can’t eat carbs
Fact: “A lot of people think they can’t eat the foods the rest of the family eats, but they can, just in limited quantities,” Murphy says. People having diabetes don’t have to follow a restricted diet. You just need to have some healthy eating habits. Go for carbs that have high fiber content such as lentils and beans. Eating appropriate-size carb occasionally, won’t make you feel disadvantaged. “It’s best to have a balanced diet, but every so often it’s OK to give in to a craving and have a taste of cake, as long as it’s not a daily habit,” Murphy says.
It’s important to educate yourself so that you can maintain your blood sugar levels and stay healthy. Don’t take things on the face value, aim for right information!