Some Myths on Diabetes Prevention and Management


Diabetes is contagious

Diabetes does not result from an infection, hence, it is cannot be transmitted between people.

Diabetes is a hormonal disease and is basically caused by a problem with either reduced amount of insulin being produced by the beta cells in the pancreas, or resistance to the action of insulin, or a combination of both factors.


No risk, if it is does not run in the family

Diabetes often tends to run in families – probably as a result of inherited traits or common lifestyle and environmental factors. At the same time, the absence of diabetes in a family is no guarantee that an individual will not get the disease. While people with a family historyofdiabetesareatmuchhigherriskofdeveloping disease compared to those without a family history, several people without a family history go on to develop diabetes.


People with diabetes cannot eat


All of us, whether we suffer from diabetes or not, need all the three main dietary constituents – carbohydrates, protein and fat.

The proportion of these constituents and their quality varies depending on whether an individual is healthy or suffers from a disease like diabetes. When a person is diagnosed with diabetes, it is important to

Extracted from: meet with a dietitian who is aware of the medical treatment planned. The dietitian can then help the

patient balance medication with physical activity, life-

style, and the amount and types of food that he /she


As a general rule, the key components of a diet advised for a person with diabetes needs to address the following issues:

  1. Total calories consumed.
  2. How these are divided between major and minor meals?
  3. Timing of meals
  4. Relative contribution            from         carbohydrates, protein and fats, and the quality of each.

In continuation, it is pertinent to point out that a healthy diet for someone with diabetes is the same as a healthy diet for anyone else! A wholesome meal plan is based on whole-grain foods, lean protein, vegetables, and fruit. Such a diet is low in fat (particularly saturated and transfat), salt, and simple sugars. The so-called diabetic foods offer no special benefits. It is important to note that unrefined carbohydrates, rich in fibre, are preferred over refined carbohydrates. The tendency to use processed or refined food items must be curbed and the consumption of traditional coarse grains should be encouraged.


If children get diabetes, they will eventually outgrow it

The most common form of diabetes in childhood is

Type 1 diabetes previously referred to as insulin-

dependent diabetes. This disease occurs because the body’s immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. This is an irreversible process and once destroyed these cells do not recover and produce insulin. Hence, a child does not outgrow the disease and requires continued treatment and attention.


Eating sugar causes diabetes

Eating sugar does not cause diabetes. Diabetes is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. However, eating a diet that is high in fat and sugar can cause you to become overweight, which increases your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

In this context it is pertinent to point out that despite what has been propagated, a couple of biscuits will not cause a health crisis even for a diabetic. In fact, sweets can be eaten in moderation by people with Type 2 diabetes, as long as this is incorporated in a structured healthy meal plan and combined with exercise. But, while avoiding sweet treats is’t mandatory, limiting them is. Sweets often contain not only empty calories but a lot of sugar, a carbohydrate that raises glucose levels considerably. For better glucose control, diabetics should have dessert only after a low-(preferably unrefined) carbohydrate meal.


Only overweight people get diabetes

Many people who have Type 2 diabetes carry excess kilograms, and some are obese, but many elderly people with the condition aret particularly overweight.

In overweight individuals, it may be motivating to learn that even modest weight loss through healthier eating and increased activity can help keep long-term complications at bay.

Among Indians, even more than other ethnic groups, people may not be obese as per weight-based criteria, but have excess fat in their abdomen resulting in a big waist. Even these individuals who look skinny from their extremities, but have a slight bulge at their waist are equally at risk for developing diabetes so


there is no comfort in being normal weight, if one is

also not slim at the waist.


Type 2 diabetes is mild diabetes

There is no such thing as mild diabetes or borderline diabetes “this is being in denial about a disease which can have grave implications for health. All diabetes is equally serious, and if not properly controlled can lead to serious complications. If one is not careful it does not take long for “mild diseases to convert to life threatening disease”.

Once there is evidence that an individual has abnormal blood sugars the person concerned should take all the precautions advised to any patient with diabetes regarding food, physical activity, regular physical and laboratory tests. This will ensure that the disease is kept under control and does not progress to cause irreversible complications.


There are many jobs that people with diabetes

cannot do

Almost all jobs can be done by people with diabetes. There may be some occupations, such as aeroplane pilots or train drivers, where there is a reluctance to employ someone with diabetes based on the premise that unconsciousness due to low blood sugars can endanger the life of passengers traveling on the plane or train. Other than few examples such as these, there is no job which cannot be done by people with diabetes, provided that they follow their doctors advice and look after themselves well.


The best way to judge blood sugar level is by the way you feel

Some people have symptoms when their blood glucose is too high or low, others do not. Because some of the symptoms of high and low blood glucose are similar, it can be hard to know what symptoms mean. The only way to be sure is to have the blood glucose checked by a doctor.

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