5 Diabetes Myths Debunked
More than 29 million Americans are living with diabetes*. Although the rates of new cases in the U.S. are beginning to fall, the numbers are still extremely high. The disease is very prevalent in this country, and unfortunately, is surrounded by myths that need to be debunked.
We will debunk some of the most common myths here:
Diabetes is not that serious. Diabetes is no joke! The health and economic costs for diabetes are huge. Diabetes was the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2013, it’s the leading cause of kidney failure and adult-onset blindness, and more than 20% of healthcare spending goes to treating diabetes*. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s important to take care of yourself and take the appropriate steps to manage this damaging but often reversible disease.
Changing my diet is too hard. While there are many opinions on the diet diabetics should consume, it’s commonly known that diet changes are the foundation of treating Type 2 diabetes. Much research suggests that simply eating a plant-based, whole foods diet is an effective approach to managing, and even reversing type 2 diabetes. Meals that are full of fresh vegetables, beans and fruits are naturally low in fat, taste great and are very filling. Eating a diet that consists primarily of these foods eliminates the need to limit carbohydrate intake and to weigh and measure every meal, making it much simpler to follow.
Type 2 diabetes is caused by eating too much sugar. The answer to what causes diabetes isn’t so simple. It involves genetics and lifestyle choices. Actually, a diet high in calories from any source can contribute to diabetes because it contributes to weight gain. However, sugary beverages such as sodas, fruit drinks and even fruit juices are high in calories and carbohydrates that can quickly elevate blood glucose levels. For this reason, many doctors advise staying away from them. Elevated blood glucose is a symptom of diabetes, not the root cause.
Fruits and starchy vegetables are full of sugar and should be avoided. This is a common misconception because of the word “sugar.” Sugar can be used to describe the refined carbohydrate in packaged and processed foods, or it can be used to refer to compounds found in fruits and starchy vegetables packed with micronutrients and fiber. Sugar that is not paired with fiber, can quickly elevate blood glucose levels. There is often very little fiber in processed foods. Even ones that claim to have added fiber! Minimally processed fresh fruits and starchy vegetables still contain the fiber nature gave them, thus enabling the body to process their natural sugars more evenly. So, rather than avoiding fruits and starchy vegetables because of the “sugar,” you should eat more of them. Try to avoid refined carbohydrates like white breads, candy and sugary cereals, and eat more whole carbohydrates like fruits, potatoes, leafy greens and beans.
People with diabetes shouldn’t workout. Many people think that working out only lowers your blood sugar, and that it should be avoided. Don’t use this as an excuse to skip the gym. The truth is quite the opposite. Exercise helps control blood sugar, weight and blood pressure. It also improves cholesterol levels. To avoid lowering your blood sugar too much, don’t work out on an empty stomach and stay hydrated.
Although diabetes is a serious illness and very common in the United States, it can be managed and reversed with a healthy lifestyle and a low-fat, plant-based whole food diet. If you have any questions, please contact us.
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