Diabetes is a serious condition that is reaching epidemic proportions around the world. Much has been discovered about the disease but much of what you believe about diabetes is likely false and based on myth. Here are some of the most common myths:
1. Diabetes is inherited: While heredity plays a part in getting diabetes, the major reasons for getting diabetes is primarily due to poor lifestyle choices Typical diets today consist of highly processed foods which are easy to digest but cause major rises in blood sugar. This taxes the pancreas into over-producing the insulin needed to get glucose into the cells where it can be used for energy. In a similar vein, you cannot get diabetes from someone who has it.
2. Sugar causes diabetes: Sugar does raise glucose somewhat but it is the carbohydrates in food that is converted into glucose and it is the simple carbohydrates in processed food which is quickly converted to glucose leading to high sugar spikes, obesity and ultimately diabetes. Complex carbohydrates found in high fiber foods take more time to be converted into blood sugar. Diabetics can eat sugar, but sugar alone does not cause diabetes.
3. Taking insulin controls glucose levels and cures diabetes: Generally type 1 diabetics need to be on insulin as their pancreas do not produce enough insulin to move glucose out of the bloodstream. Many type 2 diabetics are insulin resistant which simply means that their pancreas are producing enough insulin but the glucose is simply not getting into the cells of the body. Insulin injections help somewhat but ultimately the resistant cells require more and more insulin for glucose to enter. This eventually leads to high glucose and high insulin levels in the blood, both of which can be fatal. What needs to be addressed is what causes the cells to become resistant in the first place and a lot is due to lifestyle factors. Insulin does nothing to cure the disease.
4. You can tell you have diabetes when the symptoms start to show: This is true in some cases. But the symptoms do not always show up. The pancreas of type 2 diabetics produce insulin and this can lead to mild symptoms that are easy to overlook. In fact there are many people who are diabetic but don’t know they are until the symptoms can’t be ignored.
5. Drinking water helps to flush out excess blood sugar: While we should drink at least 8 glasses of water every day and it does help to flush out many toxins in the body, drinking water alone is not a substitute for the lifestyle change that is needed to help control diabetes. Physical activity, a proper diet, your ingrained habits of smoking and drinking and high stress levels play a more important role as to how your body controls your glucose levels.
6. Oral medications are all you need to control diabetes: They help, but they do not address the causes of the disease, which as already explained is due to an unhealthy lifestyle. Medications are a stop gap measure. They tend to help the diabetic gain weight rather than lose it. Since 95% of diabetics are overweight or obese, more needs to be done than relying on drugs for blood sugar control.
7. Eating carbohydrates should be reduced in the diet: You cannot avoid eating carbohydrates. They are a necessary part of life. However, it is the kind of food you eat on a regular basis that leads to diabetes. Consuming too much junk food instead of high fiber food is what leads to problems. Fast food seems like a good way to get quick energy in the fast paced lifestyle we live in today, but it leads to problems if it is done too often.
8. Diabetes cannot be controlled: While there is no cure for the disease, you can live a healthy life by controlling your diet, exercise regularly and cut out the bad habits that lead to the disease. Diabetes is controllable.
9. People who have diabetes eventually go blind and lose their feet: If diabetes is not addressed, the complications of blindness, nerve damage and organ failure will occur. The complications are mostly due to a lack of essential nutrients the body lacks. Diabetics are especially vulnerable to complications since their kidneys flush out essential nutrients as they try to rid the body of excess glucose. Replacing these vitamins and minerals are essential to keeping nerves healthy and functioning. You don’t have to be diabetic to experience the complications. And many people simply do not get enough of the essential nutrients their bodies need for proper functioning.
10. There are no natural remedies for diabetes: While there is no cure, there are vitamins, minerals and herbs you can take that can help you control blood sugar. Diabetics should supplement with gymnema sylvestre, bitter melon, fenugreek, gingko biloba and alpha lipoic acid. Helpful minerals are chromium, vanadium, zinc, magnesium and potassium. The diabetic should supplement with vitamins C and E and B vitamin complex. Besides taking supplements a healthy diet and exercise routine can go a long way to controlling blood sugar.
If you have diabetes or are at risk of getting it, the best thing you can do is make a complete change in your current lifestyle. Weed out the bad habits you have formed that put you at risk. If you are diabetic you should work with your doctor and a dietitian to avoid the deterioration that narrows the quality of life and leads to early death. Even if you are not diabetic, aa healthy change in your lifestyle today will help you avoid the disease later in life.