This blog post continues on from Diabetes myths debunked – Part 1.
5. I can’t eat ‘sweets’.
You can include these ‘sometimes’ foods as part of a balanced diet and in moderation just like everyone else. This point (“I can’t eat sweets”) is very old school thinking, but sadly the myth is still true for many clients and health professionals I come across. In the long term, it is not the sugar/sugary foods we need to be focusing on, but the fat containing foods especially if you are not eating intuitively. Fat is more readily stored as body fat if you eat too much due to its higher energy value. When this happens insulin has to work extra hard to get through the layer of fat, therefore making it more difficult for insulin to do its job. You will find your diabetes medication/insulin will need increasing if you accumulate excess body fat around your abdomen. The take-home message is you can eat ‘sweets’ as part of a balanced diet when eaten mindfully and just for the taste of it.
6. I have to avoid carbohydrates.
Again, is this recommended in the Australian Guide to Eating (2013)? That’s right, it’s not. If it was mentioned, what would you eat as most foods contain carbohydrates? Carbohydrate is an essential nutrient used as our primary fuel source. ‘Sometimes’ foods often contain a high amount of refined carbohydrate, known as sugar. These foods are reserved for some of the time for when we truly feel like them, as the term ‘sometimes’ implies.
7. I don’t need to exercise if I’m eating well.
You underestimate the value of exercise in maintaining your health. You and almost everyone else will benefit from exercise. Exercise is an important part of the diabetes equation as it helps insulin to work better, therefore lowering your blood glucose. Exercise can also help to relieve stress (stress can cause high BGLs), lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, lowers risk for many chronic diseases, keep joints flexible, strengthens bones and muscles, sleep better, increases your energy for everyday activities….the list is endless.
8. Diet is the reason my blood glucose levels are high.
Stress, illness, infection, forgetting to take your diabetes medication and/or insulin, pain, less physical activity than usual and older age are a few reasons why blood glucose levels are high. The condition naturally deteriorates as we age and the body wears out. When this happens diet cannot solely help you to control diabetes symptoms. Diabetes medications and/or insulin will need to be prescribed by your doctor.
9. I have diabetes so this means I can’t do this….
You are not defined by your diabetes. You are a ‘person with diabetes’ not a ‘diabetic’. Changing your language around your condition can empower you to live your life. Diabetes is not a life sentence, although it could be if you don’t value your health and look after yourself. You are more than your diabetes diagnosis. What have you always wanted to do but thought you could not do it?
For more information about diabetes visit Diabetes Australia website.
How’s your knowledge of what diabetes means for you? If I mentioned something you believe, I highly recommend seeing an APD. An APD can clear up any misconception and review your dietary habits so you can maximise your health and quality of life living with diabetes. Even if you weren’t fooled by these myths an annual review of your personal dietary situation is also recommended as circumstances do change. Happy delectable dietetics habits!
Help to dispel these diabetes myths by sharing with your friends and family.