Anything Goes

Diabetes Myths and Facts

1. Myth: Eating too much sweets causes diabetes.
Fact: According to ADA, eating too much sweets does not necessarily lead to diabetes. Type 1 is immune-mediated causing destruction of insulin-secreting cells (β cells) whereas type 2 is caused by genetics and lifestyle. Other factors such as weight contribute to the development of diabetes but weight gain is not only caused by calories coming from food containing high sugar levels. Weight may also be affected by food high in fat and oil.

2. Myth: If ants go to where your urine is, it means you have diabetes.
Fact: When blood sugar is above the kidney’s threshold, sugar tends to spill in the urine making it “sweet”, but it doesn’t mean that you have diabetes if there are ants around your urine. Blood tests are necessary to confirm if you have diabetes.

3. Myth: If a family member has diabetes, all family members/relatives will have diabetes.
Fact: Although having a family history of diabetes places a person at a 50% risk of developing diabetes, it doesn’t mean that that person will definitely develop diabetes later on. It would still depend on lifestyle habits as well as the presence of other predisposing factors.

4. Myth: If you are overweight or obese you will eventually develop type 2 diabetes.
Fact: According to ADA, being overweight is a risk factor for developing diabetes but one should also consider the presence of other risk factors. People tend to think that only weight contributes to the development of the condition. Some people who are on the heavy side never develop diabetes.

5. Myth: If you’re thin you will not develop diabetes.
Fact: Weight is not the only factor contributing to the development of diabetes. There is the presence of age, family history, lifestyle, etc. There are people who develop diabetes despite having a normal weight.

6. Myth: People with diabetes should eat special diabetic food.
Fact: According to ADA, a healthy meal plan for someone with diabetes is generally the same as a healthy diet for those without diabetes – low in fat and moderate in salt and sugar content.

7. Myth: You can catch diabetes from someone else.
Fact: Diabetes is not a contagious disease which you will acquire the same way as you catch a common cold.

8. Myth: Fruit is a healthy food. Therefore, it is okay to eat as much of it as you wish.
Fact: According to ADA, although fruits are a healthy source of fiber, vitamins and minerals, they also contain carbohydrates. Therefore, it would be best to talk to your dietitian regarding the amount, frequency and type of fruit you may eat as part of your meal plan.


Myths and Facts on Herbal Supplements

1. Myth: Herbal supplements are safe.
Fact: “Herbal” doesn’t necessarily mean safe. Many herbal supplements, while “all natural,” can interfere with medications and may have side effects. Consult your doctor first before taking any herbal supplements so you can be properly guided.

2. Myth: Herbal supplements may be used as a treatment for diabetes.
Fact: As most herbal treatments for diabetes have shown to improve the blood sugar levels by helping insulin do its job, it stands to reason that for those whose bodies don’t produce insulin, herbal treatment cannot provide that help.

As soon as a person is diagnosed with diabetes and his doctor starts him on a prescription regimen, he should not eliminate the medicine in favor of herbal treatment for diabetes without consulting his physician.

References:
American Diabetes Association
BMC Medicine
Diabetes Forecast Magazine
Department of Health
Diabetes Advisory

Source: The Medical City Press Release, July 16, 2012