In honor of American Diabetes Month this November, the Certified Diabetes Educators at Nutrisystem are debunking some common myths.
Myth: I’m a healthy weight — I can’t get diabetes.
Truth: Although there is a clear connection between being overweight or obese and developing Type 2 diabetes, genetics and other lifestyle factors like diet can play a role as well. By maintaining a healthy weight, eating a nutritious, balanced diet and engaging in healthy habits like regular exercise, you can decrease your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Myth: People develop diabetes because they eat too much sugar.
Truth: Consuming excess calories (from sugary and non-sugary foods) can contribute to excess weight and obesity — both of which are associated with Type 2 diabetes, but sugar is not the singular cause of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is the result of genetics and additional unknown factors, while Type 2 diabetes is the result of a combination of genetics and lifestyle factors.
Healthy hint: Even if you only use sugar substitutes as sweeteners, consuming excessive calories from other foods can still contribute to developing Type 2 diabetes.
Myth: If I have diabetes, I have to follow a restrictive diet that includes no carbs and definitely no dessert.
Truth: You might be surprised to learn that generally speaking, individuals with diabetes can follow the same healthy diet recommended for the general public — one that includes lean proteins, non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and fruit, and that minimizes saturated and trans fats, salt and sugar.
Carbohydrates are an acceptable and necessary part of a healthy meal plan. However, pay attention to portion. Optimal carb counts vary, but the American Diabetes Association recommends starting with 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrates per meal, and tweaking depending on your body’s response.
Some good carbs to consider include whole grain breads, pastas, rice and cereals, plus starchy vegetables like potatoes, peas and corn. Fruits, beans, milk and yogurt also count toward daily carbohydrates.
Those with diabetes can also still enjoy sweet treats in small portions on special occasions.
Myth: If my blood sugar doesn’t improve right after losing weight, it never will.
Truth: It may take time for the body to adjust to the new way of eating. If you don’t see quick improvements, be patient.
Also, stay in touch with your doctor since your medication or insulin may need to be adjusted.
Getting the formula right for a healthy lifestyle is not just an art, it’s a science — particularly if you have diabetes. This American Diabetes Month, take steps to learn more about the disease and make positive lifestyle changes to support your health.