Don't Sugar Coat It
Causing more deaths than AIDS and breast cancer combined, diabetes is a serious disease that nearly doubles a person’s chance of having a heart attack when it isn’t properly controlled. Although people understand that diabetes is a disease they should avoid, many myths surround diabetes, its causes, how diabetics deal with their condition, and especially what role ingested sugar plays. Here are some truths about diabetes and its relationship with sugar.
First of all, diabetes is a disease where the body produces too much sugar or glucose in the bloodstream. Glucose fuels our bodies’ cells and is necessary for our bodies to function. However, glucose
can gradually damage various organs and neurological functions if blood sugar levels are consistently too high.
DOES EATING TOO MUCH SUGAR CAUSE DIABETES?
The causes of diabetes are much more complicated than to say it comes from only one source. Both types of diabetes largely stem from genetics, but they are also triggered and exacerbated by environmental factors including sugary and high-carb foods. To help prevent or postpone diabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommends avoiding sugar-sweetened beverages in particular. Excessively consuming sugary drinks and foods can contribute to earlier onset of diabetes in those with predispositions for diabetes, but sugar is certainly not the only culprit.
CAN DIABETICS EVER HAVE SUGAR?
People without diabetes are encouraged to follow the same guidelines that those with diabetes are told. With healthy diet and exercise, diabetics can have limited portions of sugar and chocolate just like everyone else—as long as they stick to a healthy meal plan. With some discipline, diabetics can eat the foods they love while keeping their blood sugar levels under control.
FRUIT IS HEALTHY, SO DIABETICS CAN EAT AS MUCH FRUIT AS THEY WANT, RIGHT?
Many fruits have amazing benefits like fiber, vitamins, and minerals, but they also have carbohydrates and high amounts of sugar that can spike blood sugar levels in diabetics. Just like with other foods, diabetics need to exercise moderation, monitor their levels, and demonstrate control. Fortunately, those who live with diabetes can learn over time how their bodies react to certain foods, so they can also learn how to compensate accordingly.
CAN DIABETICS TELL WHEN THEIR BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS ARE TOO HIGH WITHOUT TESTING?
Although some people feel moody or “hangry” when their blood sugar levels nose dive, many people experience no noticeable symptoms when their blood sugar levels spike. In 2015, about one-third of adults with diabetes didn’t even realize they had it, according to the American Diabetes Association. The only sure way to know blood sugar levels is to see a doctor for testing. For those already diagnosed with diabetes, regular testing enables accurate meal planning to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
DO ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS HELP OR HURT IN DIABETES?
Although low- or no-calorie artificial sweeteners seem like a godsend, insufficient studies have been conducted to state whether they help or hurt diabetics. So you should consult your doctor before consuming artificial sweeteners and only in moderation.