12 Common Diabetes Myths Busted

September 10,2020 |
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Diabetes is a serious condition that affects more than 100 million adults in the United States. It’s a disease that needs to be managed properly to avoid any risks or life-threatening complications. Even with so many people living with diabetes, there’s still a negative stigma. The problem is that people who don’t have diabetes simply don’t understand what it is or how it works and therefore jump to their own, often wrong, conclusions. To debunk some of the stereotypes and accusations of life with diabetes, here are 12 common diabetes myths busted.  

  1. Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes are the Same

    While both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are directly related to insulin, they’re very different. People with type 1 diabetes have an autoimmune disease. Their body does not make insulin and therefore, supplementation is required to ensure that the glucose in the blood is properly transformed for cellular food and energy. Type 2 diabetes is when your body can make insulin, but your cells become resistant to it and stop responding to it. The same result happens—your cells lose out on the glucose needed for both immediate and delayed cellular energy. However, type 2 diabetes is not an autoimmune disease and is often linked more to genetics and lifestyle choices. 


  2. Type 1 Diabetes is More Serious

    Since type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, many people think that means it’s more serious. That’s not true—all types of diabetes are serious, especially when they’re poorly managed. While some of the complications and reasons behind the severity of each type of diabetes are different, one type is not “safer” than any other. When any type of diabetes goes left unchecked, it can cause serious, life-threatening complications.


  3. Poor Diet Leads to Type 1 Diabetes

    Some people believe that type 1 diabetes is a direct result of your diet. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. As we mentioned, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where your pancreas does not produce insulin. It cannot be prevented and often occurs as a spontaneous genetic risk in combination with environmental threats or exposures that trigger abnormal immune responses.

    This myth originated due to the effect of certain foods and lifestyle choices that can lead to type 2 diabetes. There is a strong connection between type 2 diabetes and ultra-processed foods, which created the assumption that type 1 diabetes is also connected to food. While there is a connection between gluten intake and type 1 diabetes, this connection occurs after diabetes has developed and been diagnosed.


  4. You’d Know if you had Diabetes

    There’s a reason that type 2 diabetes is considered the silent killer. There are over 8 million people in the United States living with undiagnosed diabetes. In those who are undiagnosed, the symptoms can be mistaken for other things or don’t present themselves at all. The only way to be sure that you have diabetes is to get screened by a doctor.


  5. People with Diabetes Can’t Have Sugar

    This is one of the biggest diabetes myths that circulates our society. People think that if you have diabetes, you have to live on a strict sugar-free diet for the rest of your life. This isn’t true. People with diabetes can eat sugar, the key is moderation and only in conjunction with a healthy, balanced diet. The same needs to be said for fat consumption if you have type 2 diabetes. Many people with type 2 diabetes have a hard time processing fat so they can actually increase glucose levels more than sugar. Always make sure to use your continuous glucose monitor to manage your diabetes regularly throughout the day and try to stick to a healthy diet 90% of the time.


  6. Artificial Sweeteners are Better than Sugar

    This relates directly to the myth about sugar. People think that sugar is bad and artificial sweeteners don’t have the same effect on your body. However, artificial sweeteners still have sugar alcohols in them. While they won’t cause as high of a sugar spike, they’re not necessarily better than sugar. In fact, it’s been shown that artificial sweeteners can have worse long-term effects on your body and can damage your stomach or intestinal system.


  7. People with Diabetes Need Special Food

    We’re not really sure where the term “diabetic food” came from, but it should be eliminated from your vocabulary. People with diabetes aren’t limited in what they can and can’t eat. There is no food that is off limits, it just requires a more mindful approach to eating. People with diabetes should aim to eat a balanced, nutritious diet. While some foods are better than controlling blood sugar levels than others, people with diabetes don’t need to eat any type of “special” food. 


  8. People with Diabetes Can’t be Active

    Exercise is a great way to help manage your diabetes and can lead to long periods of stabilized blood sugar. People with diabetes are encouraged to stay active and get an adequate amount of exercise. While there are certain risks with high-impact sports, there’s no reason that someone with diabetes can’t partake. Just make sure that you understand all of the factors involved in the sports you’re playing and take the necessary precautions.


  9. If You’re Overweight, you’ll get Type 2 Diabetes

    While you’re at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes if you’re overweight, they two aren’t mutually exclusive things. Close to 70% of Americans are overweight, yet less than 10% have diabetes. This proves that just because you’re overweight doesn’t mean you’ll get diabetes. However, losing weight is a great way to prevent the possibility of diabetes in your future, keep you healthy, and reduce your chance of developing other chronic illnesses such as heart disease or cancer.


  10. People with Diabetes are More Likely to get Sick

    It’s commonly believed that if you have diabetes, you’re more at risk of catching the common cold, the flu, or COVID-19. This isn’t true. You have the same risk of catching these illnesses as others, however, if you do become sick there are certain precautions you need to take. People with diabetes react differently to certain illnesses, so always monitor your symptoms and call your doctor if they become severe. 

    There’s also a misconception that if you have diabetes, you’re definitely going to go blind or lose a limb at some point in your life. While diabetes is the leading cause of blindness and increases your risk of amputation, those who manage diabetes and reduce risk factors will greatly reduce the chances of these complications.


  11. People with Diabetes Lack Control

    Some people believe that diabetes is a result of having no control over your life or your choices. That’s simply not true. Diabetes is a result of a number of different factors and in some cases, unavoidable. While there are ways for you to prevent type 2 diabetes, developing it should not be equated with control issues. If you’re diagnosed with diabetes, you’re going to exhibit more control over your behaviors and lifestyle choices than the average adult—it’s essential for the healthy management of diabetes.


  12. Diabetes is Contagious

Finally, the most absurd myth about diabetes is that it’s contagious. Diabetes is in no way contagious and cannot be passed through air particles, touch, blood, or any other means. The only way that diabetes can be passed down is through genes, but even then, the link is not direct. Genetics only increase your risk factors for diabetes, it doesn’t guarantee it.


If you are living with diabetes, or have been diagnosed with prediabetes, it is important to make sure that you’re living a healthy lifestyle. By eating healthy and staying active, you can reduce your chances of prediabetes developing into type 2 diabetes and improve your overall diabetes management plan. If need any blood glucose meters or continuous glucose monitoring devices, Byram Healthcare has you covered. We’re proud to provide you with the latest technology in diabetes management, including continuous glucose monitoring. We’ll work with your insurance provider and doctor to ensure you’re supported from start to finish, maximizing your coverage while minimizing out-of-pocket expenses. For more information and added support on diabetes management, sign up for Byram Healthcare’s Caring Touch At Home Program. We focus on providing exceptional customer service and top-of-the-line brand name products while lowering your overhead costs. The Caring Touch At Home Program combines convenience, affordability, and choice to deliver extensive service and support to everyone living with diabetes. 

For added support, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Byram’s Diabetes Center of Excellence—a one source, total solution for diabetes care. Our Center of Excellence combines high quality products with clinical and educational research to help you better manage your condition, support all of your needs, and live a long, healthy life.