Several years ago, the American Diabetes Association conducted a survey regarding diabetes facts and myths; the majority of those taking the survey flunked miserably. Unfortunately, when it comes to diabetes, what we don’t know can hurt us, and while we hear about diabetes in the news fairly regularly, many of us believe false information about the disease. Here are a few of the most common misconceptions:
All overweight people will eventually become diabetic. Although it is true that being overweight or obese increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, there are other risk factors that come into play, According to the ADA most people who are overweight do not have type 2 diabetes.
If I eat too much sugar, I’ll develop type 2 diabetes. This is likely one of the most common, if not THE most common myth about diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that causes the pancreas to produce either too much or not enough insulin. Referring to the first misconception listed above, although being overweight is a risk factor for developing the disease, it doesn’t matter if excess calories came from sugar or from another source.
People with type 2 diabetes can’t eat sugar are starchy foods. Not so; those with type 2 diabetes can eat some sugar and starches, but in moderation. As long as those with the disease maintain a balanced diet, they can eat the same things as anyone else can, albeit in lesser quantities.
Another type 2 myth: people who develop diabetes are more likely to catch a cold or the flu. This misconception is likely due to the fact that the CDC strongly urges those with the disease to get their annual flu shot — that’s because it’s much harder to keep your blood sugar under control if you have a cold or the flu.
Probably the most dangerous myth floating around about diabetes is that there is a cure for the disease; there is not. Diabetes can be managed, but as of now, that’s as good as it gets.
In the above mentioned survey, 1 in 10 people think there’s a cure for diabetes – 19% are unsure.