Diabetes Myths and Fact Quiz
Get the facts about diabetes and learn how you can stop diabetes myths and misconceptions.
Myth: If you are overweight or obese, you will eventually develop type 2 diabetes.
Fact: Being overweight is a risk factor for developing this disease, but other risk factors such as family history, ethnicity and age also play a role. Unfortunately, too many people disregard the other risk factors for diabetes and think that weight is the only risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Most overweight people never develop type 2 diabetes, and many people with type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight or only moderately overweight.
Myth: Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.
Fact: The answer is not so simple. Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and unknown factors that trigger the onset of the disease; type 2 diabetes is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors.
Being overweight does increase your risk for developing type 2 diabetes and a diet high in calories from any source contributes to weight gain. Research has shown that drinking sugary drinks is linked to type 2 diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that people should avoid intake of sugar-sweetened beverages to help prevent diabetes. Sugar sweetened beverages include beverages like:
- Regular soda
- Fruit punch
- Fruit drinks
- Energy drinks
- Sports drinks
- Sweet tea
- Other sugary drinks
These will raise blood glucose and can provide several calories in just one serving!
See for yourself:
Just one 12-ounce can of regular soda has about 150 calories and 40 grams of carbohydrate. This is the same amount of carbohydrate in 10 teaspoons of sugar!
One cup of fruit punch and other sugary fruit drinks have about 100 calories (or more) and 30 grams of carbohydrate.
Myth: Diabetes is not that serious of a disease.
Fact: Diabetes causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Having diabetes nearly doubles your chance of having a heart attack. The good news is that good diabetes control can reduce your risks for diabetes complications.
Myth: People with diabetes should eat special “diabetic” foods.
Fact: A healthy meal plan for people with diabetes is generally the same as a healthy eating for anyone – low in saturated and trans fat,, moderate in salt and sugar, with meals based on lean protein, non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and fruit. "Diabetic" foods generally offer no special benefit. Most of them still raise blood glucose levels, are usually more expensive, and can also have a laxative effect if they contain sugar alcohols (a sweetener used in many low-calorie/low-sugar foods).
Myth: If you have diabetes, you should only eat small amounts of starchy foods, such as bread, potatoes and pasta.
Fact: Starchy foods can be part of a healthy meal plan, but portion size is key. Whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice, and starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams, peas, and corn can be included in your meals and snacks. In addition to these starchy foods, fruits, beans, milk, yogurt, and sweets are also sources of carbohydrate that count in your meal plan.
Wondering how much carbohydrate you should eat? The amount of carbohydrate you need will vary based on many factors. You and your health care team will figure out the right amount for you. Once you know how much carbohydrate to eat at a meal, choose your food and the portion size to match.
Myth: People with diabetes may not eat sweets or chocolate.
Fact: If eaten as part of a healthy meal plan, or combined with exercise, sweets and desserts can be eaten by people with diabetes. They are no more "off limits" to people with diabetes than they are to people without diabetes. The key to sweets is to have a very small portion and save them for special occasions.
Myth: You can catch diabetes from someone else.
Fact: No. Although we don't know exactly why some people develop diabetes, we know diabetes is not contagious. It can't be caught like a cold or flu. There seems to be some genetic link in diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle factors also play a part.
Myth: People with diabetes are more likely to get colds and other illnesses.
Fact: You are no more likely to get a cold or another illness if you have diabetes. However, people with diabetes are advised to get flu shots. This is because any illness can make diabetes more difficult to control, and people with diabetes who do get the flu are more likely than others to go on to develop serious complications.
Myth: If you have type 2 diabetes and your doctor says you need to start using insulin, it means you're failing to take care of your diabetes properly.
Fact: For most people, type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease. When first diagnosed, many people with type 2 diabetes can keep their blood glucose at a healthy level with oral medications. But over time, the body gradually produces less and less of its own insulin, and eventually oral medications may not be enough to keep blood glucose levels normal. Using insulin to help achieve healthy blood sugar levels is a good thing, not a bad thing.
Myth: Fruit is a healthy food. Therefore, it is ok to eat as much of it as you wish.
Fact: Fruit is a healthy food. It contains fiber and lots of vitamins and minerals. Because fruits contain carbohydrates, they do raise blood glucose (also called blood sugar) and need to be included in your meal plan. Talk to your diabetes educator about the amount, frequency and types of fruits you should eat.
If you have diabetes or have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, we have options. For more information about diabetes self-management training OR to inquire about our Lee Diabetes Care Classes, OR something specific about working with a diabetes educator, please call 239-424-3127 (Fort Myers/Cape Coral) or 239-468-0051 (Estero, Bonita Springs).
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