The past couple of weeks at work have been really hectic. I guess people are trying to get their health in order before the new year. I had a handful of patients that have diabetes and during the session I’ve heard many different myths about diabetes. So I thought why not bust the top three common myths that my clients tell me…
Busting Myth Numero Uno:
People with diabetes can’t eat bread or pasta.
To put it as simple as possible diabetes is a disease where a person has issues with keeping their blood sugar in the normal range. When I say blood sugar I’m not taking about that sugar you put in your coffee. I’m talking about glucose. Glucose is what our cells use for energy. Without getting to “science-y”. All the foods we eat eventually breaks down to glucose and is moved from our blood into our cells with the help of insulin. (Insulin is used a hormone produced by the pancreas to bring glucose from the blood to the cell. Think of insulin as the body’s personal glucose Uber cab.) Carbohydrates break down into glucose. When a person with diabetes eats too much carbs at once their blood sugar can rise really quick (hyperglycemia). If they do not eat enough carbs, their blood sugar can drop as well (hypoglycemia). Both situations can be harmful to a person. So where do we get carbs from? The most popular sources of carbohydrates are bread, pasta, rice, corn and beans. You also get carbs from fruits and vegetables. It is important that people with diabetes have a diet that is consistent in carbs. That way they can prevent having both hyper/hypoglycemia.
So bread and pasta can have a place in a healthy diet. It’s better to eat whole grain bread and pasta because the have more fiber and nutrients. And portion size is key! Moderation and Balance!
Busting Myth Numero Dos (Two):
I don’t candy or sweets so I’m not at risk for diabetes.
Way back when diabetes used to be known as “the sugars”. People used to think (and some people probably still do) that the only way to get diabetes is by eating too much candy and sweets. But that is not the case. There are many different factors that can make a person at increased risk for diabetes. Here are some of the risk factors for diabetes:
- Race and ethincity (People of African, Asian, and Latino decent are at increased risk for diabetes).
- Being overweight
- Genetics- having family history of diabetes
- Having high blood pressure or high cholesterol
- and so much more
Busting Myth Numero Tres(Three):
People with diabetes can’t eat fruits.
Fruits are not a “oh hell no!, the devil incarnate!” food for people with diabetes. Fruits are nature’s sweet little gifts to us. They have lots of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They also help make that spinach/kale green smoothie taste so much better. But fruits contain fructose which is a naturally occuring sugar. It can raise your blood sugar, like any other carb we’ve talked about. So people with diabetes need to be mindful of their portions of fruits. You can have fruit but it’s best not to eat too much at once. Remember 1 serving of fruit is equal to 1 serving of carboydrate (15grams of carbs). So 1 slice of bread has approximately the same amount of carbohydrates as 1 cup of melon or 17 small grapes. So having a whole bag of grapes at once is like having 4 slices of bread or more at once!
** Diabetes is a complicated disease and condition. It’s a growing health concern in the U.S. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) about 9% of the US population have diabetes. Having diabetes can come with all sorts of complications. For example, people with diabetes can also have increase risk of heart disease. There are so many myths and misconceptions it can be confusing to separate fact from fiction.If you have diabetes or think you are at risk for diabetes please see you doctor or a dietitian for personalized health care!
Until next time,