Having lived with diabetes for more than 12 years, I’ve seen and heard my fair share of bullshit. Surprisingly, many of these myths have come from people living with diabetes and, in some cases, healthcare professionals.
Here are five very popular myths you might have heard before:
1. Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are the same.
Fact: Although T1D and T2D are both classified by higher than normal blood glucose levels, the cause, pathology and progression of the conditions are different.
Some would even say they are completely different diseases due to the different defective mechanisms and that they simply happen to share the same consequence of high glucose levels.
2. People with diabetes must avoid sugar.
Sugar is in every food that contains carbohydrate. Some sugars affect blood glucose quicker than others. Glucose, the simplest form of carbohydrate, will cause a rapid increase in blood glucose, whereas the fructose from fruit will not.
There is no such thing as a good or bad food, just good or bad diets or patterns of eating. A diet dominated by fast-acting carbohydrates at the expense of essential protein and healthy fats will hinder health, body composition and performance.
If you consume sugary-based food within your diet, consider this:
- Medication must cover the quantity of food consumed.
- Overall calorie intake must be respected. Carbohydrates don’t fill us up and are often overeaten.
- Essential nutrient requirements for both protein and essential fatty acids (omega 3 and 6) need to be accounted for.
3. Diabetes will hold you back in life.
ONLY IF YOU LET IT.
Take pride in getting to grips with your condition. Understand it and do your best. You have a choice in the matter.
The better your control, the better your mind and body will work.
Don’t get me wrong: you might struggle to enrol as the next James Bond. A hypo wouldn’t go down too well under fire; nor is it easy to obtain a heavy goods vehicle licence.
But things are changing: police forces are no longer barring people with diabetes, and some local authorities do allow people with diabetes to hold licenses as taxi drivers, provided their medical records show proof of good control and healthy eyesight.
4. You can catch diabetes.
Diabetes is an NON-COMMUNICABLE DISEASE (NCD).
According to the World Health Organization Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), are a medical condition or disease that is not caused by infectious agents (non-infectious or non-transmissible)
In other words, you can’t catch diabetes.
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), are also known as chronic diseases, tend to be of long duration and are the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behaviours factors.
The main types of NCDs are cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes.
5. Diabetics should buy and eat special ‘diabetic food’.
Here’s my take on specialist diabetic food…
It’s revolting, expensive and encourages regular toilet breaks.
Are you having a laugh, food manufacturers?