(BlackDoctor.org) — Living with diabetes isn’t easy: it demands overall lifestyle changes, especially when it comes to food. But like anything else when it comes to health, there are probably just as many myths about what diabetics should and shouldn’t eat as there are facts.
Do you know the difference?
True or False: Eating Too Much Sugar Causes Diabetes.
False. While the exact causes are not totally understood, it is known that simply eating too much sugar is unlikely to cause diabetes. Instead, diabetes begins when something disrupts your body’s ability to turn the food you eat into energy. Why is this a problem? Basically, your body breaks down much of the food you eat into glucose, a type of sugar needed to power your cells. A hormone called insulin is made in the pancreas. Insulin helps the cells in the body use glucose for fuel.
Here are the most common types of diabetes and what researchers know about their causes:
• Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas cannot make insulin. Without insulin, sugar piles up in your blood vessels. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin to help get the sugar into the cells. Type 1 diabetes often starts in younger people or in children. Researchers believe that it may occur when something goes wrong with the immune system.
• Type 2 diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not make enough insulin, the insulin does not work properly, or both. Being overweight makes type 2 diabetes more likely to occur. It can happen in a person of any age.
• Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy in some women. Hormone changes during pregnancy prevent insulin from working properly. Women with gestational diabetes usually need to take insulin. The condition may resolve after birth of the child.
True or False: You Need to Eat Special Diabetic Meals.
The truth is that there really is no such as thing as a “diabetic diet.” The foods that are healthy for people with diabetes are also good choices for the rest of your family. Usually, there is no need to prepare special diabetic meals.
The difference between a diabetes diet and your family’s “normal” diet is this: If you have diabetes, you need to monitor what you eat a little more closely. This includes the total amount of calories you consume and the amounts and types of carbohydrates, fats, and protein you eat. A diabetes educator or dietitian can help you learn how to do this.
Will you need to make changes to what you now eat? Probably. But perhaps not as many as you anticipate.
True or False: Carbohydrates Are Bad for Diabetes
False. In fact, carbohydrates — or “carbs” as most of us refer to them — are good for diabetes. They form the foundation of a healthy diabetes diet — or of any healthy diet.
Carbohydrates have the greatest effect on blood sugar levels, which is why you are asked to monitor how many carbohydrates you eat when following a diabetes diet.
However, carbohydrate foods contain many essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and fiber. So one diabetes diet tip is to choose those with the most nutrients, like whole-grain breads and baked goods, and high-fiber fruits and vegetables. You may find it easier to select the best carbs if you meet with a dietitian.