Diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which our body’s use of food for production of energy is affected. Most of the food we eat is carbohydrates, and this is broken down by the digestive juices into a simple sugar called glucose. Glucose is the main source of energy for the body. After digestion, the glucose passes into our bloodstream where it is available for body cells to use for growth and energy. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, facilitates the entry of glucose into our cells. When we eat, the pancreas is supposed to produce the right amount of insulin to move the glucose from our blood into our cells. In diabetics, the pancreas either produces little or no insulin, or the body cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced. Due to this, glucose levels rise in the blood, floods into the urine and passes out of the body, making the body lose its main source of fuel.
Most diseases are surrounded by a number of myths. This stems basically from ignorance or lack of proper information. Similarly, diabetes too has given rise to a number of imaginary beliefs.
Myth: Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.
Fact: There is no proof that sugar is the main cause behind diabetes. Diabetes is more related to family history, wrong eating habits and little or no physical activity.
Myth: Healthy foods don't raise blood sugar.
Fact: The fact is that all foods provide carbohydrates. And if there is enough insulin present in the body naturally or provided by injections, it will utilise the carbohydrates and consequently the blood sugar will not rise. However, if your body is producing less insulin or not utilising it sufficiently, then blood sugar is bound to rise even if you eat healthy foods.
Myth: Only medical treatment can control diabetes.
Fact: Diabetes is a disease that requires dietary intervention along with medical treatment. Medications are only a part of the cure. What is also needed is a healthy lifestyle behaviour that will allow the medication to work more effectively. This comes with a healthy, well balanced diet as well as a regular exercise routine.
Myth: Diabetics have to eat special foods.
Fact: Diabetics can eat the same food as non-diabetics, but in moderation.
Myth: No diet modification is required, if external insulin is being administered.
Fact: Insulin is not replacing a meal plan or involvement in any physical activity. Thus diet modification is needed, irrespective of whether insulin is being given or not.
Myth: Exercises are of no help in diabetes.
Fact: Exercise helps the pancreas to secrete more insulin, while at the same time, keeps the stress levels under control. Both these factors help to keep the blood sugar under control.
Myth: People with diabetes can eat any number of sugar free products
Fact: Sugar free does not mean calorie free. It is advisable to keep a check on the calorie product of the food, before consuming it. This way the total calorie intake can be kept under control and will further help in keeping a check on the blood sugar.
Myth : I don't have a family history of diabetes, so I won't get it.
Fact: Some people are born with a greater chance of developing diabetes than others. However, plenty of people diagnosed with the disease don't have a family history of diabetes. Your weight and lifestyle can be factors in whether you develop diabetes.
Myth: The strain and stress of everyday life is not related to diabetes.
Fact: The fact is that everyday stresses, as well as emotional and crisis situation can play a role in raising the blood sugar. Hence people with diabetes should take time out to relax and keep their stress levels under control.
A proper understanding of any disease means having a thorough knowledge about the disease, its causes and effects. That is why it is mandatory for all diabetics to be well informed and to be able to separate the myths from the facts.