Diabetic diets come with several misconceptions. You should eat what’s healthy for everyone, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Special food isn’t necessary. You can also have carbohydrates, sugar, dessert, and fruits. It’s all about portion control. In limited amounts, alcohol is allowed, but it shouldn’t replace other foods. Sugar-free is also not a good idea, because fat and salt are often added for extra flavor. Plus, artificial sweeteners may add calories without satisfying your sweet tooth.
If you have diabetes, diet is everything. It’s the only way to keep it under control. But in the midst of the do’s and don’ts, many myths have cropped up.
Many people have diabetes. It affects 29.1 million Americans or 1 in every 11 people! Of these individuals, 8.1 million are not diagnosed.1
Only 5 percent of diabetics have type-1 – the kind that people are born with. The other 95 percent has type-2, which develops in adulthood. It’s also preventable.2
It’s true that diabetes management depends on diet. Yet, there are a lot of misconceptions that stem from a lack of knowledge. Here are the top diabetic myths debunked.
7 Common Diabetic Food Myths Debunked
1. You Need Special Food
False. The best foods for diabetics are good for everyone.
In healthy portions, you can eat what everyone else eats. This includes low-fat, low-sodium, and low-sugar foods. Fiber, fruits, veggies, and whole grains are also important.3
2. You Can’t Eat Sugar
At first, this makes sense. Diabetes is a disease of high blood sugar, so why eat more? Won’t it make things worse?
Nope. The big thing here is portion control. When part of a healthy diet, limited consumption of high sugar foods is OK. However, too much is definitely bad news.4
Not true. Sugar-free doesn’t equal healthy. To make up for the taste, companies may add more salt, fat, or fake flavorings. This will just bring in more calories.
The same goes for artificial sweeteners. What’s worse is that they don’t satisfy your sweet tooth. In turn, you’ll have a greater craving for sugar.5
4. You Can’t Eat Carbohydrates At All
No one should omit carbohydrates. It’s your body’s first source of energy and a major macronutrient.
It’s true that you should know when and how many carbohydrates to eat. This will keep your blood glucose consistently normal throughout the day. It’ll be different for everyone, though.6
With your doctor’s help, you can learn how to plan your carbohydrate intake.
5. You Can’t Eat Fruit
Definitely false. Fruit is healthy, filling, and a great source of fiber.
Yes, fruit contains sugar. Some have more than others. It comes down to limiting high-sugar fruits, like pineapples and oranges. Fruits and fruit products without added sugars are also the best bet.7
6. You Can’t Drink Alcohol
In limited quantities, you can drink alcohol. The recommendations are the same as non-diabetics: one a day for women, and two a day for men.
Be sure to never drink on an empty stomach. The calories from alcohol also shouldn’t replace your usual food.
Opt for light beers or wine spritzers. If you’re drinking a cocktail, use calorie-free mixers like diet soda, club soda, and diet tonic water.8
7. You Can’t Eat Dessert
False. Again, sugar is OK in healthy portions.
Take advantage of the Internet. Food bloggers are getting creative! With the right technique, you can make ice cream with frozen bananas or chocolate mousse with avocado.
Being diabetic doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the food. It’s all about educating yourself. With proper management, you can live a healthy life.