Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Myths About Diabetes

When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, I remember my mom telling me that when some guy from our church found out, he said to her “Wow! You guys must have fed her a lot of sugar!” She was a little annoyed. Diabetes is NOT caused by eating too much sugar. This is probably one of the biggest, most well-known and most believed MYTHS ABOUT DIABETES.

I’m not sure how diabetes myths get started. I think, perhaps, that it is probably a result of people using their own assumptions to make up “facts” to explain things they don’t actually understand or know about.

Let’s take the “diabetes is caused by eating too much sugar” myth. I think a lot of actual facts about diabetes that have to do with the word “sugar” play into this myth. For example, diabetics can have “high blood sugar”. Also, in the past, diabetics weren’t supposed to eat sugar, EVER. (That kind of severely restricted diet is outdated now.) And, it is true that overweight and obesity can contribute to the development of Type 2 diabetes, but it is not necessarily eating too much sugar that is the culprit here. I really think people just take all of those “half-facts” they think they “know” and combine them to explain things they don’t know. That, and the fact that they just repeat stuff they hear from other people.

This whole myth that we got diabetes by eating too much sugar is so interesting to me, I’d really like to hire someone to track down this myth like people track down urban legends, and find out how it started!

Anyway, this is just one of MANY MYTHS ABOUT DIABETES. Other myths include:

  • If you have diabetes, you must be overweight, or must have been overweight at some point in the past. I’ve totally gotten this one before. “Oh, you’re diabetic? Wow, you must have lost a lot of weight!” Being overweight can contribute to Type 2 diabetes, but there are plenty of Type 2 diabetics who are skinny, and have been their whole loves.
  • Diabetes is contagious. This is just blatantly not true. There’s nothing else really to say about that.

There are a LOT of myths about diabetes, here is a great list of them by the ADA that you should check out!

Next Up: "Highs," "Lows," "Shooting up," and other diabetes lingo!

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