Diabetes Myths

Clearing the air around Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease that affects millions of Americans, and that number continues to rise. With such a complex disease, there are many myths surrounding it. Today we take a look at some of the most common diabetes myths and explain why they are wrong. Get the facts here.

Eating sugar causes diabetes.
It’s commonly believed that sugar “causes” diabetes. Although elevated blood sugar levels play a significant role in diabetes, sugar isn’t a direct cause of diabetes. A diet high in sugar leads can lead to obesity and weight gain, which are risk factors of type 2 diabetes.

When it comes to developing type 2 diabetes, there are multitudes of factors that lead to the developing the disease.

For those with type 1 diabetes, the story is a bit more complicated. Scientists are still unsure why some people develop type 1 diabetes and why others do not. To read more on the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes click here.

Type 2 diabetes only affects people with obesity.
This myth is just flat wrong. Although being overweight is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes, it is not the only one. Age, ethnicity, physical activity, and family history are also risk factors for developing diabetes. With anything as complicated as type 2 diabetes, no one factor is the cause. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated in a 2020 diabetes report that 11% of those with type 2 diabetes are neither overweight nor obese.

People with diabetes can’t eat sugar.
A major step in successfully managing diabetes is monitoring blood glucose levels. If eaten as a part of a healthy meal plan, sweets can be enjoyed by people with diabetes. The key to eating sugary treats is to have a very small portion and to save them for special occasions. Working with your physician and Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) will help you determine an individualized meal plan that covers your goals and your food preferences.

People with diabetes go blind and lose their legs.
It is true that unmanaged diabetes can progress and lead to blindness or amputations. This is because continually high blood sugar levels can damage the nerves. However, this is avoidable when diabetes is managed properly.

Diabetic neuropathy often occurs in the legs and feet, but can also affect nerves of the digestive system, urinary tract, blood vessels, and even the heart. If nerve damage progresses far enough in the legs and feet, it can lead to amputation.

Diabetic retinopathy is nerve damage that occurs in the eye as a result of mismanaged diabetes.

Again, when diabetes is managed properly, nerve damage can be avoided.

The CDC estimate that 11.7% of adults with diabetes have some level of vision impairment. Lower-extremity amputation occurs in around 0.56% of people with diabetes in the U.S.

People with diabetes shouldn’t be active.
People with diabetes are actually encouraged to get more active and exercise, so this is bunked.

For some, there may be some limitations for what they can do, especially if they are experiencing issues with arthritis. Here are a few resources for ideas on how to get more active. We also have guides for starting a new exercise routine. If you have any questions about what activities you should avoid specifically, speak with your physician, or get in touch with our clinic.

Diabetes is contagious.
Diabetes cannot be caught by another person. Diabetes is a non-communicable illness meaning it cannot be passed on from sneezing, touching, or any other person-to-person contact.