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‘Eating Too Much Sugar Causes Diabetes’ and Other Myths

Separate the diabetes diet facts from fiction

Constance Brown-Riggs, M.D. | 7/14/2013, 1 p.m.
You can eat dessert with diabetes.

Every 90 minutes one New Yorker dies as a result of diabetes. Nearly 650,000 New York adults have diabetes, an increase of 200,000 in a decade. Most of these cases are due to type 2 diabetes.

Those are the staggering numbers released by the Department of Health earlier this month.

In African-American communities in New York, where diabetes is a chronic problem, the death rate is even higher. African Americans are twice as likely to have diabetes as compared to whites and the disease is more prevalent and deadly in poorer neighborhoods.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Some people call it “just a touch of sugar.” Others see it as the kiss of death. But it’s neither—not if the disease is taken seriously, addressed without fear or old wives’ tales on the best way to treat the condition. Here are some of the most common myths about diabetes and dieting–along with fact-based information you can rely on. Trust me.

Myth: If you eat too many sweets, you’ll get diabetes.

Fact: Diabetes isn’t caused by eating too much sugar or sweets; it’s caused by genetics and lifestyle factors. However, eating foods high in sugar, fat and calories can cause you to become overweight, which increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Myth: Type 1 diabetes is more serious than type 2 diabetes.

Fact: All types of diabetes are serious. Type 1 and type 2 involve elevated blood glucose levels which can lead to serious complications such as nerve damage, foot ulcers, amputations, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke and blindness.

Myth: If you don’t take diabetes medicine, your diabetes must not be serious.

Fact: Not everyone who has diabetes takes medicine for it. If your body produces some insulin, losing weight, adopting healthy eating and getting regular physical activity can help insulin work more effectively. However, even if you don’t take medicine now, you need to keep a close eye on your condition. Diabetes does change through time, and diabetes medicine may be needed later.

Myth: If you get diabetes, insulin will cure it.

Fact: Insulin doesn’t cure diabetes. It helps to control diabetes by keeping the blood glucose from rising. At this point, there is no cure, only medicines and lifestyle changes that can help you manage it better.

Myth: If you have diabetes you can expect to lose your sight and limbs eventually.

Fact: Having diabetes doesn’t mean you’re doomed to loss of sight or amputations. Keeping your diabetes under control can prevent the most serious complications.

Myth: Dessert is off limits if you have diabetes.

Fact: While eating too many sugary foods is not a good idea, you can have an occasional dessert. It should be counted as part of your total carbohydrate intake for the day. Meaning, if you plan to have a piece of wedding cake, limit the bread, potatoes and other carbs you eat that day.

Read the rest of this article at theGrio.com.