Posted in: diabetes, diabetes mellitus, Manage Diabetes

Debunking common misconceptions about diabetes

When discussing diabetes mellitus, we are referring to a group of diseases that cause high blood sugar levels, or hyperglycemia. And numerous complications that can result from poorly managed blood sugar.

There’s already so much misinformation on how exactly to manage diabetes mellitus most of which is draining most diabetic individuals.

We want to create a very comfortable environment for diabetic individuals so that we can all have just a normal life.

And be able to enjoy our favourite meals, participate in sports activities and avoid premature deaths due to complications when the blood sugars and not well controlled.

Here are some of the most common diabetic myths…

1. Eating sugar causes diabetes!

According to the science of digestion, what happens when food gets digested? they get broken down and later get into our blood system and finally into our body cells so that’s how we get the energy to use for our day-to-day activities.

Now, keeping that in mind, what do you think happens when your diet contains too much sugar? There is going to be too much sugar in your blood system. When you are already living with diabetes this is extremely dangerous, as the little insulin being produced, that is in Type 2 diabetes, may not be sufficient enough to help the sugar get out of your blood system. 

If this continues for a long time, then the build-up of too much sugar in your blood can bring not only kidney damage but many other complications as well. However, even if you are not diabetic, sugar alone gets you into developing obesity or being overweight which are risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes. What this means is that too much sugar is a risk factor, it is therefore safe to avoid or limit the use of foods that contain too much sugar, and added sugars for example ;

  • cakes
  • juices
  • sweets
  • soda
  • other processed foods.

2. Only Overweight/Obese individuals get diabetes.

Weight management is a very important aspect of managing diabetes. living a sedentary lifestyle that includes fewer physical activities will definitely get you into being overweight and obese.

But then we have a lot more causes of diabetes including, a family history of having diabetes, and gestational diabetes that occurs during pregnancy, so the weight aspect is just one of them. You therefore can not straightforwardly say that only overweight and obese individuals will get diabetes, However, “prevention is better than cure”.

3. You cannot eat carbohydrates when you are diabetic.

There are 3 important things you need to consider when it comes to carbohydrates;

  • How much carbohydrate are you eating?
  • What kind of carbohydrates are you eating?
  • How often do you eat carbohydrates?

You are therefore so wrong to deny diabetic Individuals carbohydrates because just like any other people they too need carbohydrates for energy and for general nourishment. 

In managing diabetes we, therefore, want to focus more on portion control and that is why we have so many methods of portion control including using the diabetes plate method, the food pyramid, using your hands for portion control, and so on and so forth. To be on the safe side, choose more whole grain carbohydrates with slow penetrating sugars because this will ensure that sugar gets into your blood system slowly and therefore prevent hyperglycemia. 

Also important is to eat small portions of carbohydrates, like a quarter of your plate being carbs, while half of your plate is vegetables. Avoiding simple Sugars from processed foods will be a big saver.

4. Diabetic Individuals should only eat diabetic food!

Is there a food you consider diabetic food? Have you ever heard people being advised to eat only diabetic food?

What is recommended is a modified diet, just normal foods that are modified to help a diabetic individual maintain a normal blood sugar level. 

That is why we talk about portions, types, and frequency. Diabetic Individuals can have 3 main meals with healthy snacks in between these meals to prevent both hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia. Therefore it’s not limited to but modified diet.

5. You will go blind and lose your legs when you are diabetic.

Too much of something is dangerous rather poisonous, so with poorly managed blood sugar levels.

You are therefore at risk of developing diabetic complications including amputations due to slow wound healing, and nerve damage.

6. Diabetic Individuals cannot participate in sports activities.

Still going back to hypoglycemia, over-exercising can easily get your sugars low quite fast. And as much as hyperglycemia is bad, hypoglycemia is very very bad and can lead to loss of life. While participating in sports activities, a diabetic Individual needs very close monitoring to avoid circumstances like those. We’ve already said we want diabetic patients to enjoy a normal life just like any other person, and sports activities are part of normal life.

7. Diabetic Individuals are prone to infections.

Sugar creates a very good environment for bacteria, so with poorly managed blood sugar levels, then you are definitely at risk of many different infections therefore you are better off following your diet, taking your meds appropriately, doing foot care, and exercising.


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