If you have prediabetes, you’ve probably already spoken with your doctor about steps you can take to keep it from progressing into full-blown diabetes, and you’ve probably done some of your own research online, too.
However, as you find out more about your condition, it’s important to be aware that there are a number of myths circulating about prediabetes and diabetes. These myths can negatively affect your health if you adhere to their information rather than the hard facts about diabetes. Here are 5 health myths to watch out for, busted.
1. “Only Overweight People Get Diabetes”
While it’s true that being overweight or obese can increase your chances of developing diabetes, a high number on your scale isn’t the only cause. Genetic factors play a huge role in who develops diabetes, as does ethnicity, age, quality of diet, and the amount of exercise you get each week.
In fact, the vast majority of people who are overweight are never diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and there are plenty of people who are thin, average, or only mildly overweight who do get it. So don’t consider yourself at a low risk for diabetes just because you have a slim physique.
2. “Healthy Food Has No Effect on Blood Sugar”
Chugging sodas left and right certainly won’t help, but it’s important to keep an eye on the sugar and carbohydrate content of all foods, not just sweets. Fruits, grains, starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn, and most high-energy protein bars or meal supplements contain tons of carbohydrates that your body will convert into sugar.
3. “I’ll Develop Diabetes No Matter What”
Diabetes does have a strong genetic component, and prediabetes can lead to the full form of the disease if it’s not treated. However, there are plenty of things you can do to stop prediabetes in its tracks. Controlling your blood sugar through diet and stepping up your exercise regimen can keep your prediabetes from worsening, and in the case that it does develop into diabetes, your good habits can help to prevent further complications.
4. “People With Prediabetes Shouldn’t Eat Fats“
Reducing your intake of unhealthy fats is good for just about anyone, and is especially important for people with prediabetes. Yet, there are also good fats that are not only necessary for your good health, but that can actually help you increase the efficacy of insulin that your body makes.
Monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats are crucial to health in general, can help you feel satisfied after meals, and can help make better use of your body’s natural insulin. So feel free to enjoy olive oils, avocadoes, nuts, and fish in moderation.
5. “Prediabetes Isn’t Serious”
It’s true that many people who are prediabetic can reverse the damage caused to their body and return to full health. But you don’t want to be overly optimistic and assume that your diagnosis doesn’t mean you have to make some serious changes.
Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, by far outstripping both breast cancer and AIDS on the list. Apart from that, two in three people with full diabetes die of heart attack or stroke. So don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because you don’t have “real” diabetes, you don’t need to be careful.