Common Myths & Facts about Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes News

Type 2 Diabetes is increasingly becoming common nowadays, making it difficult for individuals to lead a normal life.

It is a medical condition where our body does not use energy from food properly. Our pancreas produces insulin to help our cells use glucose. But over time, our pancreas starts making less insulin, and the cells resist the insulin. This causes excess build-up of sugar in our blood. 

High blood sugar levels may lead to serious health problems, including heart disease or stroke. Therefore, it is important to understand certain important facts about type 2 diabetes.

Here are five common myths about type 2 diabetes and their facts.

Myth 1: Eating too much sugary food causes diabetes

Increased sugar intake may trigger diabetes but is not the main cause or risk factor. Rather, real risk factors are weight gain and lack of physical activity. We tend to gain weight when our calorie intake exceeds our body’s requirements. A portion of these extra calories might come from sugary food that we consume, but it is not directly to be blamed.

It is more important to match our calorie intake to our body’s requirements to reduce our risk rather than just cutting sugar.

Myth 2: One may not get diabetes if there is no one in family with this condition

Diabetes is hereditary and having a close family member with diabetes increases your risk for getting diabetes. In fact, having a family history is a risk factor for both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

However, there are cases where people with diabetes have no close family members with diabetes. This means our lifestyle choices can also increase our risk for type 2 diabetes. These factors may include:

  • Being overweight or obese

  • Polycystic ovary disease

  • Having pre-diabetes

  • Gestational diabetes

  • Being older than 45 years

One can reduce risk of developing diabetes by staying at a healthy weight, exercising most days of the week, and eating a healthy diet.

Myth 3: People with Diabetes Avoid Carbohydrates 

Generally, it is believed that too much intake of Carbs can disturb the blood sugar level. However, the truth is that they are an important building block of nutrition and a source of energy for everyone, irrespective of whether an individual is diabetic or not. People with diabetes can safely include carbohydrates in their meals but with limitations.

Therefore, it is important to plan our meals to avoid excess consumption of carbohydrates. One approach can be to eat about the same amount of carbohydrates at each meal. A nutritionist can help in this regard to figure out how to include these foods in our meals.

Myth 4: Gestational diabetes only affects overweight or obese people

Being overweight increase our risk of becoming diabetic, but people who are underweight or within a healthy body mass index (BMI) range can also contract gestational diabetes. 

There are many other risk factors besides obesity that increase our risk of diabetes. These may include:

  • Being overweight or obese

  • Having a prior pregnancy with gestational diabetes

  • Family history of diabetes

  • Age (older = higher risk)

  • Ethnicity

Gestational diabetes is the result of the interaction of several risk factors involving more than just weight.  

Myth 5: People with very severe diabetes only need to take insulin

This is the most common and dangerous diabetes myth. Individuals often have high blood sugar for a long time, and their bodies develop serious complications such as kidney failure, amputations, or even blindness.

Insulin is a very effective way to maintain ideal blood sugar levels and protect our body from

uncontrolled diabetes. Many individuals with type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes can use

non-insulin medications and adopt lifestyle changes to manage their condition without needing insulin

The bottom line is a balanced diet, with careful consideration of carbs intake, may play a vital role, along with regular exercises to enhance insulin sensitivity and improve our overall health, reducing the risk of health complications.