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Diabetes Health Center

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10 Diabetes Diet Myths

Have you heard that eating too much sugar causes diabetes? Or maybe someone told you that you have to give up all your favorite foods when you’re on a diabetes diet? Well, those things aren’t true. In fact, there are plenty of myths about dieting and food. Use this guide to separate fact from fiction.

1. Eating Too Much Sugar Causes Diabetes.

MYTH. The truth is that diabetes begins when something disrupts your body's ability to turn the food you eat into energy.

2. There Are Too Many Rules in a Diabetes Diet.

MYTH. If you have diabetes, you need to plan your meals, but the general idea is simple. You’ll want to keep your blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible. Choose foods that work along with your activities and any medications you take.

Will you need to make adjustments to what you eat? Probably. But your new way of eating may not require as many changes as you think.

3. Carbohydrates Are Bad for Diabetes.

MYTH. Carbs are the foundation of a healthy diet whether you have diabetes or not.

They do affect your blood sugar levels, which is why you’ll need to keep up with how many you eat each day. Some carbs have vitamins, minerals, and fiber. So choose those ones, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Starchy, sugary carbs are not a great choice because they have less to offer. They’re more like a flash in the pan than fuel your body can rely on.

4. Protein Is Better Than Carbohydrates for Diabetes.

MYTH. Because carbs affect blood sugar levels so quickly, you may be tempted to eat less of them and substitute more protein. But take care to choose your protein carefully. If it comes with too much saturated fat, that’s risky for your heart’s health. Keep an eye on your portion size too. Talk to your dietitian or doctor about how much protein is right for you.

5. You Can Adjust Your Diabetes Drugs to ‘Cover’ Whatever You Eat.

MYTH. If you use insulin for your diabetes, you may learn how to adjust the amount and type you take to match the amount of food you eat. But this doesn't mean you can eat as much as you want and then just use additional drugs to stabilize your blood sugar level.

If you use other types of diabetes drugs, don't try to adjust your dose to match varying levels of carbohydrates in your meals unless your doctor tells you to. Most diabetes medications work best when you take them as directed. When in doubt, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

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