Diabetes is certainly misunderstood. What more, we diabetics have to deal with a plethora of myths people have acquired over the years about what it is we have. There are even myths diabetics themselves believe. Here is my list of the top 10 diabetes myths out there today (in no particular order):
Myth #10. Being a diabetic is easier the longer you’ve had it.
-I wish this were true! But, its not.
Myth #9. “Injections probably don’t hurt you anymore now that you are used to them.”
-Oh dear. This irritates me to hear because it is as if people think that time makes a person immune to pain. It would be nice. In fact, since I have 15 years of scar tissue built up, the injections hurt even MORE.
Myth #8. The belief a type 1 diabetic can “cure their diabetes with diet”.
-Another one I wish was true. But, alas we must rely on insulin.
Myth #7. The assumption a diabetic gave themselves diabetes by eating too much candy as a kid.
-This is only 1 factor possibly influencing type 2 diabetes (as a lifestyle factor you could say). As for type 1, we know it has nothing to do with it. Yet, people still say that to me. I just throw this back at them: “No that isn’t true, gee the public is still quite uneducated about diabetes…”
Myth #6. Diabetics are very limited in the things they can do in life.
-If you do the research, there are type 1 and 2 diabetic Olympian athletes, scientists, actors, rock stars, wilderness experts, etc. Point being, diabetics can do many things if they choose to.
Myth #5. Type 1 diabetics don’t live long.
-Actually, many do. Google the names Robert and Gerald Cleveland. These brothers have had type 1 diabetes for more years than my grandmother has been alive. And they are not blind nor in a wheelchair.
Myth #4. It is wildly believed you need a doctor to “manage your diabetes”.
-Here is where I’m risking getting some criticism. What you really need is to educate yourself all about your diabetes and manage it yourself. A doctor cannot possibly hold your hand through every moment in life and unfortunately that is how often you have to make decisions regarding your diabetes. So if you have the knowledge, then you can do what I do and be great at self-management.
Myth #3. A good diabetic diet consists of plenty of slow acting or complex carbohydrates.
-This is where I totally disagree with the American Diabetes Association. They recommend 3-4 starchy foods per meal. New information is proving that low carb is best for type 1 so that less insulin is given-resulting in less errors and better glucose. (works for me!) And type 2 diabetics need a super low carb diet until blood sugars are stabilized. Then, a low carb diet must be maintained in conjunction with other healthy lifestyle habits like regular exercise. This doesn’t apply to all type 2 diabetics, just a large number of them.
Myth #2. An A1c of 5% is too low.
-My ex-doctor told me my A1c was “overkill” at 4.6%. Thus, his “ex-doctor” status. This is only too low if blood sugars are frequently very low. Then you are risking going unconscious-or worse. If the 5% is an accurate reflection of where your glucose stays most of the time, then 5% is NOT too low. This A1c is ideal because it is considered to be in the “normal” range-for a non-diabetic person.
Myth #1. Diabetics should eat and drink foods containing artificial sweeteners.
-This one is hard for people because of the great job the media does at telling us artificial sweeteners are safe. Before being put on the market years ago, they endured extremely short and limited testing trials. Since then, thousands of cases against artificial sweeteners have hit the courts. Science is now proving they have very bad side effects. ALSO, they do raise blood sugars-just not as much as natural sugar. So if you consume a lot of a product with artificial sweetener don’t be surprised when your blood sugar is high. You are not alone…I had a hard time giving up my diet cokes, too.
What are some myths you have encountered?