“Take care of your body; it’s the only place you have to live.” – Jim Rohn

Diabetes is a chronic disease. It affects the way our body processes glucose (sugar) in the blood. The food that we eat, primarily, breaks down into sugar and it flows into our bloodstreams. When the blood sugar levels go up, the pancreas releases ‘insulin’ to allow the blood sugar enter the cells. If you have diabetes, your body is either not capable of making the insulin or can’t use the insulin already made. Following are some of the popular.


1. Myth: Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.

Considering that diabetes involves breaking down sugar in the blood, it is natural for people to assume that high sugar intake would cause diabetes.

FACT- High sugar consumption does not directly cause diabetes. However, it can lead to obesity which increases the risk of diabetes. Even the diabetic patients don’t stop consuming sugar altogether. Sugar is present in almost everything we eat such as fruits, vegetables, milk and cakes. Hence it is to make an effective distinction between natural sugar and added sugar. While natural sugar is essential for a healthy and balanced diet, it is the artificial sugar that needs to be avoided.



2. Myth: All types of diabetes are the same.

Another wide-(mis)spread myth about diabetes is that all the types of diabetes are the same. But it is not true. When simply the term ‘diabetes’ is used, it usually refers to Type 2 diabetes only. There is a significant distinction between the different categories of diabetes.

FACT- Broadly, there are three types of diabetes-

  • Type 1 Diabetes,
  • Type 2 Diabetes,
  • Gestational diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body starts attacking itself and destroys the cells that produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes is the most common. It occurs when the body fails to use the insulin or is not able to produce it. Gestational diabetes is mostly seen in pregnant women due to hormonal changes.

However, the condition when blood sugar level is higher than normal but not high enough to call the person diabetic, is known as prediabetes.



3. Myth: Diabetes can be cured only by medicines.

FACT- Medication and pills constitute an important component of ‘Diabetes Treatment’. However, the other components are- a healthy and nutritious diet; regular exercise and maintaining a normal weight. These three components can significantly help in reducing the dependency on medicines. For an effective dietary intervention, a diabetes specialist doctor in Delhi can be consulted. Regular exercise is especially beneficial for Type 2 diabetes. It also helps to regulate cholesterol, blood pressure and overall blood circulation.





4. Myth: Artificial sweeteners are safe.

FACT- Rising health concerns lead to the rise of the market for artificial sweeteners. These are synthetic sugar substitutes. They are an alternate to the natural sugar as it virtually adds no calories to the diet. It is used only in a small fraction compared to natural sugar. However, studies have shown that artificial sweeteners can be hazardous to health. It can impact the brain by impairing sensitivity to interceptive signals and can lead to other gastrointestinal problems. Also, we might end up overeating by using artificial sweeteners due to over craving.  Taking these in moderation – for example once every few days is acceptable though.  



5. Myth: People with diabetes shouldn’t eat fruits.

FACT- Certainly diabetic patients are required to control the sugar intake but there is no harm in eating natural sugar. Fruits, vegetables and milk constitute natural sugar. They are rich in phytonutrients and fibre. In fact certain fruits impressively help to regulate high & low blood sugar levels. For example- Berries are rich in antioxidants; Tart cherries control inflammation; Peaches, apricots, apples, oranges contribute to a ‘diabetic-friendly’ diet.  But it is important to discuss with the dietician or your Diabetes doctor regarding the amount of fruits that you can consume in a day. 



6. Myth: Diabetes is contagious.

FACT- It is often feared that diabetes is contagious. Some people question if diabetes can be transferred through saliva, blood or sexual contact. However, medical science has confirmed that it is a non-communicable disease. Diabetes is an endocrine disorder. Therefore, it cannot be transmitted like any other blood-borne disease.



Take away

The changing lifestyles often pose huge danger for chronic diseases such as diabetes. It is important to know well about its causes and myths so that an effective treatment can be given. Regular care at home and visits to the best endocrinologists in Delhi would be helpful in treating it.

Dr. Hemi Soneja is a specialist in Diabetes & Obesity Medicine and has more than 16 years of experience. She is one of the few doctors who are trained at American Board of Obesity in India.


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