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8 Diabetic Diet Myths Dispelled

Diabetes is fast becoming one of the most common illnesses in the world. As such, there is a treasure trove of rumors and misinformation regarding this disease. It's extremely important to separate fact from fiction, and that is why we've brought you 8 of the most common myths about this disease that we are going to bust right now.  

Myth 1: Eating too much sugar causes diabetes

It is widely thought that eating too much sugar causes diabetes. What does cause diabetes is an insulin malfunction . This means your body struggles to turn the food you eat into energy. Usually food gets broken down into glucose, a sugar that powers cells. The pancreas produces insulin, a hormone which helps cells use glucose for energy.

There are 3 common forms of diabetes and none of them are caused by sugar intake.

  • Type 1 diabetes usually starts in childhood or young adulthood and is when the pancreas can’t produce insulin. These people need to take insulin to help move the sugar into the cells and prevent it from amassing in the blood. 
  • Type 2 diabetes can affect any person, of any age and is when the pancreas doesn’t produce sufficient insulin or the insulin stops working, and sometimes both scenarios. Being overweight can make this form of diabetes more likely.
  • Another common type is Gestational diabetes, a temporary form of diabetes that occurs in pregnancy due to hormone changes that cause insulin not to work properly.

Myth 2: You won’t be able to eat your favorite foods anymore

The idea that you are limited to uninteresting food when you are diabetic is widespread and misleading. You don’t have to give up foods you love; you just might need to think of how you eat them differently. You will need to change the way you prepare these foods, and might need to change the foods that you eat alongside them, and possibly reducing the portions.

Myth 3: You’ll have to prepare separate diabetic meals

You might be thinking that you won’t be able to eat what the rest of the family is eating, and extra preparation would be required. This isn’t necessarily true. A diabetic diet is a healthy diet, nutritious for the whole family and doesn’t require separate preparation. The person with diabetes just needs to pay more attention to the amount of calories she or he eats and monitor the types of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in their diet.

Alternative sugars

Stevia

  • This is a plant extract that tastes much sweeter than sugar and has no calories. It has the added benefit of lowering blood sugar and blood pressure. Stevia has a distinct taste and it can take a while to adjust.

Erythritol

  • This sugar alcohol is low in calories and doesn’t affect your blood sugar levels. It is safe to eat however eating too much can cause digestion issues.

Xylitol

  • Another sugar alcohol that doesn’t raise blood sugar or insulin levels. Similar to Erythritol, Xylitol causes digestive issues if eaten in large quantities. This sugar alcohol is also been shown to have dental benefits and improve bone density. It’s highly toxic to dogs.
 

Myth 4: Carbohydrates are bad for diabetics

Carbohydrates, commonly shortened to carbs, are the foundation of any healthy diet and are not bad for diabetes. Why they are important to monitor is because they have the greatest effect on blood sugar levels. It’s best to discuss which ones you eat with a dietician so that you select nutrient rich ones.

Myth 5: You can replace carbohydrates with protein

Carbohydrates ability to affect blood sugar levels quickly might tempt people with diabetes to lower their intake of carbs and compensate with more protein. This is fine in principle, but in practice many proteins, such as meat, are dense in saturated fats. Consuming too much fat can increase the risk for heart disease.

Myth 6: You can take medicine and eat what you like

It would be great if taking a pill would allow you to go about eating what you usually do but adjusting your medication makes it less effective as medicine works best taken consistently, as instructed by your physician. For those who take insulin, it’s often the case that you learn to adjust the amount of insulin to match the amount of food you eat, but this doesn’t give you permission to eat as much as you want. You still have to stick to a diabetic diet to stabilize your blood sugar levels.

Myth 7: You have to eat diet foods

A lot of ‘diet’ foods are smart marketing. They are often more expensive and no healthier than regular foods. It’s important to read the ingredients and consider the number of calories before deciding if it’s suitable for your diabetic diet. As always when in doubt about what food is beneficial its best to consult with a nutritionist or dietician.

Myth 8: No more dessert

Similar to myth #2 you need to rethink how you look at desserts. There are plenty sweet options available for eating at the end of a meal. You can use artificial sweeteners, alternative sugars or try expanding your food horizons to include fruit, and yogurts. You can even make your recipes more nutritious by including whole grains, and vegetable oil when preparing desserts. For many recipes you can skip or reduce the sugar without changing the consistency or sacrificing the taste. Another option is to practice portion control. Consider splitting dessert or opting for a single ice cream scoop.

Email image: www.freedigitalimages.com

H/T: www.webmd.com

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