Diabetes myths debunked

Think you know everything about diabetes? Think again! There are quite a few misconceptions out there about the disease. There are several types of diabetes—Type 1, Type 2, and gestational—and each have different symptoms and causes. You can educate yourself about these myths to help combat the misconceptions.

Here are three common myths about the disease that have been debunked by the American Diabetes Association (ADA).¹ For a complete list of diabetes myths, visit the ADA’s website.

Myth 1: If you are overweight or obese, you will eventually develop Type 2 diabetes.

  • Being overweight puts you at a higher risk of developing the disease, but there are three other risk factors that should be considered: family history, ethnicity, and age.
  • Most overweight people do not develop Type 2 diabetes, and many people with Type 2 diabetes have a normal body weight or are moderately overweight.

Myth 2: Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.

  • Type 1 diabetes is a genetic disease, while Type 2 diabetes is caused by a combination of genetics and lifestyle factors.
  • Sugar can cause weight gain, and as mentioned above, being overweight increases your risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. Whether you have diabetes or not, eating sweets, chocolate, or other foods with a high sugar content should be done in moderation.  

Myth 3: If you have diabetes, you should only eat small amounts of starchy foods, such as bread, potatoes, and pasta.

  • If you have diabetes, you can eat potatoes and whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, and rice in controlled portions. Work with your health care team, including a nutritionist or dietician, to understand how to develop a healthy meal plan that is moderate in salt and sugar and full of whole grain foods, vegetables, and fruit.

If you suffer from diabetes or know someone who is, staying informed can help avoid medical complications as soon as possible. Diabetes is a serious disease, so working with your health care team early on to best manage the disease is crucial.

1. American Diabetes Association, “Diabetes Myths,” accessed May 2014, http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/myths/.


American Diabetes Association, “Diabetes Myths,” accessed May 2014, http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/myths/.

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