1. Myth: Type 2 Diabetes is nothing to worry about.
Fact: Type 2 Diabetes causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Having Type 2 nearly doubles your chance of having a heart attack. The good news is that controlling it can reduce your risks for diabetes complications.
2. Myth: Obesity leads to Type 2 Diabetes.
Fact: The truth is, although being overweight IS a risk factor for developing Type 2, it is not the sole factor. Other risk factors such as family history, ethnicity and age also play a role.
3. Myth: Excessive consumption causes Type 2 Diabetes.
Fact: As mentioned above, being overweight IS a risk factor for developing Type 2 and a diet high in calories from any source contributes to weight gain. However, there is no direct correlation implying that sugar consumption CAUSES Type 2 diabetes.
4. Myth: People with Type 2 Diabetes should exclusively consume diabetic foods.
Fact: A healthy meal plan for people with diabetes is generally the same as a healthy diet for anyone – low in saturated and trans fat, moderate in salt and sugar, with meals based on lean protein, non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and fruit. Contrary to popular belief, Diabetic and “dietetic” foods generally offer no special benefit. Most of them still raise blood glucose levels, are usually more expensive and can also have a laxative effect if they contain sugar alcohols.
5. Myth: If you have Type 2 Diabetes, you should only eat small amounts of starchy foods.
Fact: Healthy eating is important. Starchy foods can be part of a healthy meal plan, but portion size is key. Whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice and starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams, peas and corn can be included in your meals and snacks. In addition to these starchy foods, fruits, beans, milk, yogurt, and sweets are also sources of carbohydrate that you need to count in your meal plan.
6. Myth: People with Type 2 Diabetes can’t eat sweets or chocolate.
Fact: If eaten as part of a healthy meal plan, or combined with exercise, sweets and desserts can be eaten by people with Type 2 Diabetes. They are no more “off limits” to people with Type 2 than they are to people without it. The key to sweets is to have a very small portion and save them for special occasions so you focus your meal on more healthful foods.
7. Myth: You can catch Type 2 Diabetes from someone else.
Fact: No. Although we don’t know exactly why some people develop Type 2 Diabetes, we know it is not contagious. It can’t be caught like a cold or flu. There seems to be a genetic link in diabetes, particularly Type 2 Diabetes, however lifestyle factors also play a part.
8. Myth: People with Type 2 Diabetes are more likely to get colds and other illnesses.
Fact: You are no more likely to get a cold or another illness if you have Type 2 Diabetes. However, people with Type 2 are advised to get flu shots. This is because any illness can make diabetes more difficult to control, and people with Type 2 Diabetes who do get the flu are more likely than others to develop serious complications.
9. Myth: If you have Type 2 Diabetes and your doctor says you need to start using insulin, it means you’re failing to take care of your diabetes properly.
Fact: For most people, Type 2 Diabetes is a progressive disease. When first diagnosed, many people with Type 2 Diabetes can keep their blood glucose at a healthy level with oral medications. But over time, the body gradually produces less and less of its own insulin, and eventually oral medications may not be enough to keep blood glucose levels normal. Using insulin to get blood glucose levels to a healthy level is a good thing, not a bad one.
10. Myth: If you have Type 2 Diabetes, you can’t eat fruit because it is too sweet and contains sugar.
Fact: Fruits are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber! Fruit contains carbohydrates so you need to count it as part of your meal plan. Having a piece of fruit is also a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth. The best fruits are those that are fresh, frozen or canned without added sugars. Fruit can be eaten in exchange for other sources of carbohydrate in your meal plan such as starches, grains or dairy.