Myths, old wives tales and sensationalised news headlines are common when it comes to health-related topics, and there are lots of misconceptions about diabetes.
While Type 1 Diabetes isn’t caused by anything in particular and is unavoidable, Type 2 Diabetes is largely preventable, so it’s important to be clued up on the facts to help you to understand your risks and the actions you can take to reduce these risks.
We asked our nutritionist Ashleigh to debunk some of the common myths we hear about Type 2 Diabetes and set the record straight!
Type 2 diabetes is complicated! There are people who are overweight who will never get diabetes, and people of a healthy weight who do. Although being above a healthy weight can increase your risk of Type 2 Diabetes, there are many other risk factors – such as genetics, ethnicity, diet, inactivity and age.
Previously, Type 2 Diabetes was thought to be a disease that mainly affected adults earning itself the name “adult-onset diabetes”. However, over the past few decades, it has increasingly been diagnosed in children, so much so that the name has now been adapted. This shift may be a result of lifestyle changes in our culture, such as increased sedentary behaviour and increased exposure to high fat and high sugar foods.
Eating too much sugar can make it difficult to manage diabetes and can lead to other adverse health effects, but it’s not necessary to cut sugar out of the diet completely.
Carbohydrates (which turn into “glucose” aka sugar in the body) are an important part of balanced diet – even for diabetics – as it’s the body’s main source of energy. High sugar treats can still be enjoyed in moderation – just make sure to plan for this.
Diabetics can and should exercise – it is an important part of staying healthy! It has been found that movement can help to regulate blood sugar but using up glucose in the blood as energy and making the cells more sensitive to insulin. You should always check with your GP, especially if you are having symptoms of low/high blood sugar, before exercising.
There’s no need to worry because the good news is that Type 2 Diabetes is both preventable and manageable (and in some cases, reversible).
Losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle can help reduce your risk of a developing Type 2 Diabetes, or help improve the symptoms if you already live with the condition.