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8 Commonly Heard Diabetes Mellitus Misconceptions

As with most diseases there is a great deal of misinformation surrounding diabetes and here are 8 of the most commonly heard myths when it comes to diabetes:

1. Diabetes sufferers cannot eat candy or chocolate. There is no reason at all why people with diabetes should not eat candy and chocolate, or indeed such things as cakes and sweet desserts, as long as these are eaten in moderation and form just one part of a normal healthy diet plan.

2. Diabetes sufferers cannot exercise or perform strenuous work. It is more important for diabetics to exercise regularly to keep fit and their body weights in check. In fact, an Austrian mountaineer Geri Winkler became the first insulin-dependent diabetic to reach the top of Mount Everest in May 2006.

3. Eating too much sugar can actually cause diabetes. Although the causes of diabetes are not fully understood, excessive consumption of sugar is certainly not one of them. In general it is believed that diabetes is genetic in origin and is triggered by a combination of environmental and lifestyle factors. Eating too much sugar could of course lead to an individual gaining weight and excessive weight is certainly one factor that can increase the risk of developing type II diabetes. It is however the excess weight that you are carrying and not the sugar that can trigger diabetes.

4. Diabetes sufferers are required to eat a special diabetic diet. So called “Diabetic” or “Diatetic” versions of some foods which are commonly sold in health food stores are nothing more than a marketing ploy. Diabetics, like everyone else, should eat a normal balanced diet which is low in fat and which contains moderate levels of both salt and sugar. The addition of whole grain foods, vegetables and fruit is also beneficial.

5. Diabetes is contagious. It is sometimes said that you can catch diabetes in much the same way as you would catch a cold or flu. There is no truth in this at all. It is believed however that diabetes sufferers are genetically predisposed to the disease and that it is triggered by environmental factors which will include both viruses and drugs, including antibiotics. It is possible therefore that catching a common illness, or treating that illness with antibiotics, may lead to the onset of diabetes.

6. Taking insulin can lead to high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries. In early tests there was some suggestion that insulin might play a role in triggering processes associated with the development of hardened arteries but time has shown that there is no evidence that insulin causes either high blood pressure or hardening of the arteries.

7. Diabetic suffers should only eat very small amounts of carbohydrate. Carbohydrates, from which the body gets much of the glucose required for energy, are found in a range of foods including beans, bread, cereals, pasta and rice and normally account for about half to three-quarters of our dietary intake. Diabetics can and should include carbohydrates in their diet, especially as they also contain essential fiber, and the secret here is to simply ensure that they are balanced with other foods and that portion sizes are reasonable.

8. Diabetes sufferers are prone to catching colds and flu. There is no evidence to show that people with diabetes are any more or less likely than anybody else to catch a cold or flu. Because, however, illnesses of this nature can often interfere with levels of blood sugar, and thus make the management of diabetes more difficult, diabetes sufferers are encouraged to try to avoid catching such illnesses and, in particular, to have an annual flu shot. There are of course a host of other myths associated with diabetes, including the fact that insulin causes obesity and that diabetics should eat large quantities of fruit, but the 8 listed here are perhaps the most commonly heard myths.

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For more information on diabetes treatment try visiting, a website that specializes in providing information on diabetes prevention, diabetes type 1 and type 2 and some lists of diabetes diet tips.

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