From its causes to how it can be best managed, there are lots of myths around diabetes. Here are some of the most common:
People with diabetes cannot have sugar
Having diabetes doesn’t mean having to have a sugar-free diet. People with diabetes should follow a healthy, balanced diet low in fat, salt and sugar, but they should still be able to enjoy a wide variety of foods, including some with sugar.
It’s not safe to drive if you have diabetes
If people with diabetes are responsible and have good control of their blood glucose levels, they are no less safe on the roads than anyone else. Nevertheless, the myth persists that people with diabetes are unsafe to drive.
People with diabetes should eat ‘diabetic’ foods
Diabetes UK doesn’t recommend ‘diabetic’ foods for people with diabetes because these foods are high in fat and calories and still affect blood glucose levels. They are expensive and can cause diarrhoea. If people want to treat themselves occasionally then they should go for the real thing.
Type 2 diabetes is a mild form of diabetes
This is wrong. There is no such thing as mild diabetes. All diabetes is serious and if not properly controlled it can lead to serious complications such as amputation, kidney failure, blindness and stroke.
Children with diabetes must have eaten a lot of sugar
Actually, the vast majority of children with diabetes have Type 1, which is not linked to diet or lifestyle at all.
People with diabetes can’t play sport
People with diabetes are encouraged to exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle and keeping active can help reduce the risk of complications such as heart disease. Steve Redgrave, Olympic gold medal-winning rower, is an example of someone who has achieved great sporting achievements while living with diabetes.
All people with diabetes are overweight
This is wrong. Being overweight does increase risk of Type 2 diabetes, but there are other risk factors that play an important part, such as age, family history, and ethnicity.