Common myths about diabetes

Posted on July 31, 2009. Filed under: Diabetes/diabetic recipe | Tags: , |

Myth : Diabetes cannot be prevented…

Fact : Diabetes can be prevented, if you do not have a family history of it. Its onset can also be delayed in individuals who have a family history of diabetes and are predisposed to this condition. For example, a WHO report says that if both parents are diabetic there is 99% chance of the child being diabetic, 70% if one parent is diabetic and the other is from a diabetic family, 40% if only one parent is diabetic and only 20% if anyone in the family is diabetic.
Eating regular meals, exercising regularly, refraining from cigarettes and alcohol and keeping stress away are all good measures that can help to keep diabetes away.
Myth : Excessive consumption of sweets can cause diabetes….
Fact : Consumption of sugar or sweets is not directly responsible for the onset of diabetes. It is the body’s inability to produce insulin that causes diabetes. When the cells cannot utilize the sugar or starch we eat, our blood sugar levels rise rapidly causing diabetes or even aggravating already existing diabetes.
However, excessive consumption of sweets can also lead to weight gain and such a weight gain along with sedentary habits, stress and/or a family history of diabetes can increase the risk of its occurrence.
Myth : Diabetes is curable…
Fact : There is no real cure for diabetes and it is a life long condition that can be managed through diet control, exercise and medication under the supervision of your physician.
However, if you are a borderline diabetic, with proper care you can keep your blood sugar levels under control without the use of any medication.
Myth : Diabetics should not eat fruits….
Fact : It is a false notion that diabetics should not have fruits. One can consume fibre-rich fruits like sweet lime, oranges, guavas, amla, etc and fruits that are high in water fruits like watermelon, musk melon, strawberries, papaya, plums, etc. as these help to control blood sugar levels. Due to their low glycemic index, they promote a gradual increase in the blood sugar levels which is beneficial to diabetics. Fresh fruits like oranges, sweet lime, apples also contribute substantially in providing vitamins and minerals to our diet.
On the other hand, restrict all fruit juices because they contain too much sugar and because plenty of fruit is required to make 1 glass of juice. Juice will also not add any fibre to your diet as most of it is are strained thus raising the blood sugar levels instantaneously. Fruits like mango, chickoo, custard apple, banana and grapes should also be restricted as they have a high sugar content. Refer to the food exchange list to see how much quantity of a particular fruit is allowed.
Myth : Diabetics cannot eat rice …..
Fact : That’s not completely true. The caloric value of rice is very close to other cereals like wheat and jowar but rice has a tendency to increase the blood sugar levels very quickly. Therefore rice should always be combined with some other food, preferably vegetables or dals, as they have a high fibre content which prevents a rapid rise in blood sugar (sugar) levels. Brown rice or unpolished rice is a better choice as compared to white polished rice as they have more fibre.
Myth : Diabetics can never eat sweets or desserts….
Fact : That’s not true. Diabetics can enjoy an occasional treat like a pastry or ice cream but the key is to have it in moderation and also in accordance with the food exchange list. If you indulge in dessert, try and compensate for that treat with other foods in the same meal. For example, if you know you want to eat dessert, then skip either the appetizer or the rice dish.
If you’re having dessert try and share it with someone so that you’re not obliged to finish the whole portion. Choose a fruit based dessert over a cream based one.
Try the low calorie desserts that we have made with low fat products and artificial sweeteners and satiate your sweet tooth.
Myth : Artificial sweeteners have no side effects…
Fact : Artificial sweeteners are safe for everyone except pregnant or breast feeding women. Artificial sweeteners like saccharine and aspartame are almost free of calories and carbohydrates and so do not raise the blood sugar levels like sugar does. Some sweeteners can cause mild reactions like dizziness, headaches, gas or diarrhoea.
Adding it in the right quantity is also vital because if you have added too much sweetener, then there is a predominant bitter after taste.
Myth : Sugar free products are safe to consume…
Fact : No, this may not apply to every product. Some products that are labeled “sugar free” may be high in fat and hence are not very healthy for diabetics. So it is a good practice to read the nutrition facts on the package before buying any food. Look for sugar free and fat free on the labels.

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