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Can't eat sugar? See 9 myths and truths about diabetes

Metabolic syndrome caused by different factors, the diabetes is characterized by chronic hyperglycemia, nothing less than the increased blood sugar levels, and develops through genetic, biological and environmental factors.

According to research data Vigitel Brasil 2023, Surveillance of Risk and Protective Factors for Chronic Diseases by Telephone Survey, diabetes reaches 10.2% of the Brazilian population . The country still is in fifth place in the global ranking with the highest incidence of the disease, with 16.8 million of adult patients (20 to 79 years old). Brazil is second only to China, India, United States and Pakistan.

Marcela Rassi, an endocrinologist and member of the Brazilian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism, lists some myths and truths about the disease. Check out!

Myths and truths about diabetes

Diabetes is caused by excessive sugar consumption

Myth. “Many credit the development of diabetes to excessive sugar consumption, but the reality is that, although inadequate nutrition is a significant risk factor, diabetes is a complex condition that can be influenced by several factors, including genetics, lifestyle and personal medical history”, highlights Marcela Rassi.

According to the professional, excessive sugar consumption can contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes, especially when combined with other risk factors, such as obesity and lack of physical activity.

“Type 1 diabetes, for example, is an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks insulin-producing cells, and has no direct relationship with sugar intake”, adds the professional.

Only overweight or obese patients can develop diabetes

Myth. “Type 2 diabetes is strongly linked to obesity and being overweight, but people with a normal weight can also develop it. Genetic factors and lifestyle play a significant role”, explains the endocrinologist.

Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with lifestyle changes

True. “Changing habits, especially those linked to diet and regular physical activity, as well as maintaining a healthy weight are highly effective measures in preventing and controlling type 2 diabetes”, points out Marcela.

Diabetes is a “disease of old age”

Myth . According to Marcela, quite the opposite. “Due to bad habits increasingly present in today's lifestyle, type 2 diabetes is a diagnosis that is growing among children and adolescents. Type 1 diabetes, in particular, is already quite common in young people,” she explains.

Diabetes affects oral health

True. “Patients with diabetes need to pay greater attention to their oral health, as they are more prone to developing gingivitis and periodontitis”, highlights the endocrinologist.

People with diabetes cannot eat carbohydrates

Myth. “People with diabetes can and should consume carbohydrates as part of a balanced diet. Carbohydrates are an important source of energy for the body, and it is essential to include them in your diet, even for those with diabetes. However, it is necessary to make smart choices, opting for healthy carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes, instead of refined carbohydrates, such as sugar and white flour”, explains Marcela.

“These foods provide essential nutrients, fiber and a gradual release of sugar into the blood, which helps keep glucose levels stable,” she adds.

The professional also emphasizes that it is essential to seek a health professional to guide patients with diabetes on the right amounts of carbohydrates to be consumed.

Diabetes can contribute to kidney complications

True. “Inadequate diabetes control can indeed cause damage to the kidneys. Uncontrolled diabetes increases the risk of kidney failure and can lead to the need for dialysis”, highlights the endocrinologist.

Diabetes patients can never eat sugar

Myth. “People with diabetes can consume sugar, but they need to monitor their intake and balance it within a healthy and balanced diet,” says Marcela. According to the doctor, the key is controlling the quantity and choosing healthier options.

“In addition, it is important to consider the impact of sugar on blood glucose and adjust the dose of medications, such as insulin, as necessary,” he highlights.

Eating red meat increases the risk of diabetes

Still under study. In previously published studies, the intake of red meat has been associated with a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, as Marcela explains, such studies only show an association between the amount of red meat ingested and the risk of developing the disease.

“These studies are based on people accurately reporting what they ate over the course of a year. But it is necessary to consider other factors, such as general lifestyle, level of physical activity, body weight, dietary pattern and genetic factors, which also play a significant role in the development of diabetes”, she highlights.

“While we don’t have that answer, what we do know is that different research raises concerns about eating too much red meat and suggests that dietary changes can have a positive impact. Studies suggest that exchanging just one portion of red meat per day for other sources of protein such as nuts, legumes and dairy products can reduce the risk of the disease”, concludes the professional.

Source: CNN Brasil

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