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Diabetes Myths and Facts

-by Dee Meerdink, our Diabetes Educator and Care Coordinator

November is National Diabetes Month. You know someone who has diabetes – about 1 out of every 11 people has diabetes. But what do you really know about Type 2 diabetes?

Here are some myths about Type 2 diabetes:

  1. Eating too much sugar causes diabetes. While it’s true that eating large amounts of added sugar may increase your risk of diabetes, sugar intake is just one piece of the puzzle. Many other factors — including overall diet, lifestyle and genetics — also impact your risk.
  2. Only people who are overweight or obese get diabetes. There is a relationship between Type 2 diabetes, weight gain and obesity. However, it is possible to have type 2 diabetes without being overweight or obese. Around 5 percent of adults with type 2 diabetes are not overweight.
  3. People with Type 2 diabetes can’t eat sugar. It is true that people with type 2 diabetes should eat a healthful diet, and these diets are generally low in sugar. However, it may not be necessary to avoid sugar entirely. For instance, fruits contain fructose, which is a type of sugar, but they also provide fiber and a range of vitamins and minerals. People with diabetes should avoid sugary drinks though. An analysis of data from 310,819 people found that the risk of type 2 diabetes was more significant in those who consumed sugary drinks more regularly.
  4. People always know when they have type 2 diabetes. In the early stages of type 2 diabetes, the symptoms are generally less noticeable than they are in Type 1 diabetes. It is possible for someone to have type 2 diabetes without knowing it. A 2015 CDC report estimated that around 7.2 million people were not aware they had diabetes.

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