There are currently 1 in 10 people living with diabetes in America and more than 400 million across the globe.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition in which the body can’t properly process food for use of energy.
When we consume food it turns into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use as energy.
The pancreas which is an organ in our body located near the stomach, creates a hormone called insulin which helps glucose access the cells in our bodies.
For those with diabetes, your body either can’t produce enough insulin or use it efficiently.
Several misconceptions and myths have circulated causing misinformation and sometimes an unfair stigma towards the condition.
Let’s take a look at 5 of the most common myths around diabetes and provide the facts.
1. People with diabetes can’t eat sugar or sweets
This is the most common myth. People with diabetes can indeed eat sugar however should incorporate a well-balanced diet which of course can include sugar in moderation.
2. People with diabetes shouldn’t play sports
There are many high prominent athletes with diabetes. Such as NFL Football Star Jay Cutler, MLB star Adam Duvall and Real Madrid Star Borja Mayoral.
Physical activity can improve overall health and quality of life. Exercise can actually reduce diabetes complications, lowering blood sugar levels and countering insulin resistance.
Consult a licensed physician about creating an exercise program right for you.
3. Diabetes requires giving yourself shots
While injectable medications are commonly used to treat diabetes, alternative methods are available such as blood sugar meters, oral medications and pens that don’t require injections.
4. Carbohydrates & starchy foods are off-limits
Carb’s aren’t the enemy but the type of carb and quantity consumed. The glycemic index is a scale between 1 and 100 that measures how quickly food causes increases in blood glucose levels.
Low glycemic index foods such as steel-cut oats, whole-grain bread and low-starch vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes and spinach are better choices than cereals, white bread and watermelon.
Once you choose your healthy carbs, you still need to manage portions, as too many carbs can cause higher blood sugar levels. Stick to your personal carb target. If you don’t have one, ask your healthcare team what’s best. If you use the plate method of portion control, limit your carbs to one-quarter of the plate.
5. Your body isn’t producing enough insulin
Those with diabetes do produce enough insulin when they are first diagnosed. However the insulin is not working properly to absorb glucose from food. Eventually the pancreas may stop producing insulin and they will require injections.
Those with prediabetes often produce enough insulin however the cells of the body are resistant to it. Since sugar can’t move from the blood into cells, the pancreas is eventually unable to produce insulin to keep blood sugar levels in a normal range. This can eventually lead to type 2 diabetes.
Those with prediabetes often produce enough insulin, but the cells of the body are resistant to it. This means the sugar can’t move from the blood into the cells. Over time, the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels in the normal range. This can cause you to progress from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes.
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