When it comes to diabetes, knowing fact from fiction can help you better manage your blood sugar.
Myth: “Healthy foods won’t spike my blood sugar.”
Not always! Eating too many healthy foods that are high in carbs—like fruits, whole grains and starchy vegetables (like yams and peas)—can raise blood sugar. The ADA recommends including about 45-60 grams of carbohydrates per meal as a starting point. However, check with your healthcare provider for what’s best for you.
Myth: “I have type 2 diabetes. If I start insulin, I’ll be on it for the rest of my life.”
Not necessarily, says Riva Greenberg in her book, 50 Diabetes Myths That Can Ruin Your Life: and the 50 Diabetes Truths That Can Save It. Some people with type 2 diabetes may stop insulin if they lose enough weight, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
“For many people, starting insulin is the beginning of better health,” says Greenberg. “They’re able to achieve better blood sugar control, which leads to having more energy and better quality of life.” And that’s often necessary for getting on track to a healthier lifestyle.
Myth: “I have to lose a lot of weight for my diabetes to improve.”
Actually, losing just 7% of your body weight—about 15 pounds if you weigh 200—can improve your blood sugar and head off complications of diabetes, including blindness, kidney damage, heart disease and amputation, according to the ADA. “Sometimes, accomplishing this smaller weight loss helps inspire patients to go on and make larger improvements, if they need to,” says Greenberg.
Myth: “I follow my treatment plan, so I should never have high blood sugar readings.”
Even if you followed your healthcare provider’s advice to the letter, odds are you’ll still experience highs now and again. For instance, “stress in life raises blood sugar,” says Greenberg. That’s why it’s important to check your blood sugar often. Ask your doctor how often is right for you and review your target numbers.