You’ve probably all heard it! You have diabetes so you must have been eating too much sugar. So can you get Type 2 Diabetes eating too much sugar? After all, the main characteristic of the disease is high levels of sugar in the blood.
Put simply, the answer is no. You can’t get Type 2 Diabetes from eating too much sugar.
That doesn’t, of course, mean you can go out and ladle spoonfuls of sugar into your tea or coffee or sprinkle it liberally over your breakfast cereal or guzzle several cans of your favourite fizzy drink!
Too much of any food is going to cause you to put on weight and it is this extra weight, in the form of fat, that can lead to the development of Type 2 Diabetes.
Myth Number 1 – Sugar causes Type 2 Diabetes
Sugar on its own doesn’t cause diabetes. However, one way that sugar can influence whether a person gets type 2 diabetes is by consuming too much sugar (or sugary foods and drinks). Doing so can make people put on weight and gaining too much weight leads to Type 2 Diabetes in some people. Of course, eating too much sugar isn’t the only cause of weight gain. Eating too much of any food can cause weight gain and increase a person’s chance of getting diabetes.
Myth Number 2 – I have diabetes and so can’t eat sweets
Wrong! You really can have your cake and eat it – just don’t wolf the whole cake! Like everyone, people with diabetes should reduce the amount of sweets and cakes they eat. Once in a while as a treat isn’t going to do you any harm. Just try to make sure it really is as an occasional treat and not every day. Being diabetic doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself.
What is sugar? – Processed or Natural
Sugar is found naturally in fruit, vegetables and dairy foods. Processed or table sugar is made from sugar beet or cane and contains no nutrients but lots of calories. Sugar is also added to food and drink by food manufacturers, or by ourselves at home. The debate about sugar and health is mainly around the ‘added sugars’. These includes:
- table sugar that we add to our hot drinks or breakfast cereal
- caster sugar, used in baking
- sugars hidden in sauces, ready meals, cakes and drinks.
Can eating sugar make my diabetes worse?
By eating more sugar than your body can turn into energy your blood sugar levels will increase. This can intensify the complications that are caused by diabetes. Although, as I have already said, sugar alone doesn’t cause the diabetes, it can cause it to progress and cause complications such as:
- Kidney disease
- Eye problems
- Cardiovascular problems
- Non-healing wounds
By talking to your doctor and understanding what your sugar intake should be, you can help prevent these problems.
Go on – enjoy yourself!
While having diabetes does mean you need to be careful about what you eat, it doesn’t mean you have to stay away from the foods you enjoy completely. Just make sure that you monitor your sugar intake and don’t over indulge! They do say a little of what you fancy does you good so go on and enjoy that occasional slice of cake!