5 Diabetes Diet Myths
One of the most frustrating and difficult paths toward living healthy with diabetes is the “diabetes diet”.
There are many common conceptions about what causes diabetes and how diabetics should live, and a good amount of them are false.
Here are five of the most common myths about diabetes diets:
1. Too Much Sugar Causes Diabetes
The causes of diabetes are actually much more complicated than that. You body breaks down food into glucose, a sugar used to power cells, and insulin helps the cells use this glucose for energy. Type 1 diabetes is caused when the pancreas cannot make insulin and sugars pile up in the blood vessels. This is likely caused by problems in the immune system, not diet. Type 2 diabetes occurs when insulin does not work properly, and is sometimes a result of being overweight.
2. The Diabetes Diet has a lot of Rules
While planning meals is a big part of living with Diabetes, it doesn’t mean that you will need to make drastic changes to what you currently eat. Following a “diabetes diet” means eating foods that work along with your internal chemicals to keep your blood sugar levels balanced.
3. You have to give up desserts if you have Diabetes
While you should skip the giant hot fudge sundae, you can develop strategies to include some of your favorite desserts while keeping your diabetes in check. Try:
- Substituting sugar with artificial sweeteners;
- Eating smaller portions or sharing desserts;
- Choose “dessert days”, 2 or 3 days a week when you reward yourself for following your diabetes diet plan;
- Try nutritious desserts, like a fruit cup or a whole-grain oatmeal cookie! Replace ice cream with yogurt, have some toast with a bit of jam!
4. Diabetics Can’t Eat Carbs
On the contrary, carbohydrates are good for diabetics. They are the foundation of any healthy diet. They should be monitored because they have a large effect on blood sugar levels, but they also contain many essential nutrients like vitamins and fiber. Instead of eliminating carbs from your diet, choose carbs with the most nutrients, like whole-grain breads and high-fiber fruits.
5. Artificial Sweeteners Are Dangerous For Diabetics
If you crave the sweet taste of sugar, it is much healthier to use artificial sweeteners than regular sugars. Not only do they taste much sweeter than the equivalent amount of sugar, but they have fewer calories as well. There has been recent controversy in the media about side effects of certain sweeteners, so if you are unsure whether or not to try artificial sweeteners, research which, if any, brand is best for you. You may also benefit from the new “natural” sweeteners coming to the market.
Photo by John Nyboer