Diabetes Myths vs Facts
Not everything you hear about diabetes is true. That’s why it is important to get the facts, so you can make good decisions to better manage your diabetes.
Myth: "Diabetes is not that big of a deal."
Fact: Diabetes is a big deal, but if you manage it right, you may be able to help delay or even avoid some diabetes-related health complications down the road.
Myth: "People who are overweight eventually get diabetes."
Fact: Being overweight is just one risk factor for developing diabetes. There are other factors, such as family history, race or ethnicity, and age. By knowing all of the risk factors, you may better understand your overall risk and what you can do to improve your health.
Myth: "Eating too much sugar can cause type 2 diabetes."
Fact: As mentioned above, weight gain is one risk factor for getting diabetes. Taking in too many calories causes an increase in weight. Drinking sugary drinks is one way to take in extra calories.
The American Diabetes Association recommends not drinking a lot of sugary drinks.
Sugar-sweetened drinks include:
- Regular (non-diet) sodas
- Fruit drinks including fruit punch
- Energy drinks
- Sports drinks
- Sweetened tea
Instead, choose from zero or low-calorie drinks like water, unsweetened tea, coffee, or diet soda. A splash of lemon can also make your drink light and refreshing without the added calories.
One 12-ounce can of regular (non-diet) soda contains approximately 150 calories and 40 grams of carbohydrates. Did you know that this is the same amount of carbohydrates in 10 teaspoons of sugar?
Myth: "Having diabetes always leads to bad health problems."
Fact: If you follow your diabetes care plan, you may be able to delay or prevent diabetes-related health problems.
Myth: "It’s your own fault that you have diabetes."
Fact: Diabetes isn’t anyone’s fault. No one knows what causes diabetes. Your eating and activity choices can play a role in your blood sugar control. But it’s not the whole story.
Myth: "Diabetes is contagious."
Fact: No. You can’t catch diabetes from someone else like a cold or the flu. But it’s important to know that type 2 diabetes can run in families.
Myth: "People with diabetes get more colds, flus, and other illnesses."
Fact: Not true. People living with diabetes are no more likely to catch a cold than someone who does not have diabetes. But, those with diabetes are advised to get a flu shot because any illness may make diabetes harder to manage.
Myth: "Fruit is good for you, so it is okay to eat as much as you want."
Fact: It is true that fruit is a healthy food. Fruit is full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. But because fruits contain carbohydrates, which are broken down into sugars by your body, it is important that you eat only as much fruit as stated in your mean plan. Speak with your diabetes care team or dietitian about your meal plan if you're not sure.
Fact sheet also available in Spanish