Expert-reviewed by Ashwini S.Kanade, Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator with 17 years of experience
As a person with diabetes, we are sure you get a lot of free gyaan about what you should and should not do to keep your blood sugar levels. In most cases, these pieces of advice do more harm than good and give rise to a bunch of myths that you shouldn’t bother believing.
If you too have fallen prey to such myths, worry not! Today, Dr V. Mohan, Chairman & Chief Diabetologist at Dr Mohan’s Diabetes Specialties Centre, Chennai is dispelling all the myths and setting the record straight on what you should and should not do to manage diabetes.
Myth 1: People with diabetes should NOT eat fruits
Fact: As a general rule, eat fruits only if your blood sugar levels are managed well. This way, the increase in blood sugar levels caused by fructose (a type of sugar found in fruits) won’t affect you too much.
Also, make sure you pick fruits that have a low glycemic index. If you wish to indulge in fruits with a high glycemic index, balance it out by decreasing the number of carbs you eat during the rest of the day.
Myth: Type 2 diabetes is a mild form of diabetes. I don’t need to manage it
Fact: Don’t take type 2 diabetes less seriously! You might not need continuous insulin injections like a person with Type 1 diabetes, but that does not mean Type 2 is mild or that you don’t need to manage it.
Unchecked diabetes can lead to several health complications that affect different parts of your body. But the good news is that simple lifestyle changes such as eating healthy, exercising, taking your medicines on time and maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce the risk of these complications.
Myth: Will I eventually go blind because I have diabetes?
Fact: It is not true that all people with diabetes eventually go blind. Diabetes is one of the common causes of blindness, but this is true in cases of long-term unmanaged diabetes. If you manage your diabetes well with minimal fluctuations, you can prevent eye complications for life.
Myth: Diabetes is hereditary, I can’t do anything about it.
Fact: Not true again. Only about 40%  of diabetes is inherited, whereas 60% of diabetes is due to lifestyle factors such as obesity, lack of exercise, poor eating habits and even stress. If both parents have diabetes, it is likely that all the children will eventually get diabetes too. But if one parent has diabetes, the risk is reduced to 50% . So, the good news is that despite having the genes for diabetes, it is still possible to prevent diabetes if you maintain an active lifestyle and ideal body weight.
Myth: I am overweight, so I will develop diabetes.
Fact: Being overweight with poor lifestyle choices does increase your chances of developing diabetes. These chances further increase when there is a hereditary factor. Maintaining a healthy weight by being active and eating healthy can help reduce the risk. And if you already have diabetes, leading a healthy lifestyle and losing weight can even help reverse it.
Myth: If my doctor prescribes insulin, it means my diabetes is getting worse.
Fact: This is only partly true. In people with type 2 diabetes, insulin is usually not needed in the early stages. However, over time, if the pancreases stop functioning efficiently or tablets are no longer effective, insulin is the preferred method of treatment. But it still does not mean that it is a worse’ condition because even after taking insulin, people can live a full and healthy life.
- Rashmi B. Prasad, and Leif Groop. Genetics of Type 2 Diabetes—Pitfalls and Possibilities. Genes (Basel). 2015 Mar; 6(1): 87–123. Published online 2015 Mar 12. doi: 10.3390/genes6010087 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4377835/
- J P H Wilding. The importance of weight management in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Int J Clin Pract. 2014 Jun; 68(6): 682–691. Published online 2014 Feb 18. doi: 10.1111/ijcp.12384 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4238418/