Sugar Matters
August 24, 2007

Myths and facts about diabetes

Myth number 1: “Diabetes comes from eating too much sugar”- FALSE, BUT COMPLICATED.

Now that we have a very basic understanding of what Diabetes means, we need to address some of the ideas floating around. In my practice I have found that wrong information is responsible for a number of cases of “Diabetes gone bad.”{{more}}

This first idea, “Diabetes comes from sugar,” is one of the most widely believed. Think about it – Considering the general Vincentian diet, if Diabetes came from sugar or anything sweet, then really practically everybody should have Diabetes! Now the idea seems to make sense, which is why so many people believe it: if you eat too much sugar, it just makes sense that you should have high blood sugar. Right? WRONG – the body is a lot more complicated, so it just does not work that way for people without Diabetes. Now when you ALREADY have Diabetes, of course eating too many sweet things will raise your blood sugar, but this is after you have stepped over the line. We are talking about what happens before you step over.

This answer is complicated because of several things:

First, it is definitely true that if you have type 1 Diabetes, also called Insulin Dependent/requiring Diabetes, that this had nothing to do with any sugary foods you ate. Type 1 Diabetes happens because your body does not make insulin, and it does not depend on diet or weight. If you have Type 1 Diabetes, please stop beating yourself up about how much tarry you ate as a child.

Most people have Type 2 Diabetes: This is also called Non-insulin dependent/requiring Diabetes, although it can develop into a stage where you do need some additional insulin. This type of Diabetes is again NOT DIRECTLY related to eating sugar, but is very much affected by diet in general. To develop this type of Diabetes, you need to have a meeting of several conditions, have your own eclipse of the sun, so to speak. Most people with type 2 Diabetes have had someone else in their family with Diabetes, even if they do not know it. Most also are either a little or very much overweight. Now I know that Vincentians like a meaty body with round bottoms etc. But “meaty” should not become heavy, especially if you carry fat in your belly area. These are the people who are more likely to have problems with blood sugars in life. Lack of exercise also plays a very big role. Other factors also come into play, some of which are too complicated to explain in detail here.

So to sum up, just eating sugar does not CAUSE Diabetes, however the weight you gain from eating badly can make you more likely to have sugar problems at some point. So eat healthier, lose some weight and get some exercise. I know you have heard this before. No harm in repeating it! Take care everyone.

Anita Ramsetty, MD
Medical Director Endocrine Care Group