4 Common Diabetes Myths Debunked
Get the facts about diabetes and learn how you can stop diabetes myths and misconceptions. Recently we asked Dr. Arlene Ngan, MB BCh. FRACP, FRCP (Edin), Endocrinologist & Medical Advisor, Sau Seng Lum (SSL) Diabetes Care Centre, who was among the guest speakers at Diabetes Conversation Map – An Interactive Journey press briefing, to debunk the myths surrounding food and diabetes.
Myth #1: Eating at night makes you fat
It’s not the timing but the amount being eaten that can cause weight gain. The fact is that your body will store any extra calories as fat if you take in more calories than you burn in a day, regardless of the time of day in which you consume those excess calories. Whatever you eat in access, whether you eat at day or night will turn into fat. Studies consistently show that nighttime eating does not actually cause weight gain if you stay within your body’s daily caloric needs.
Myth #2: Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.
There are three main types of diabetes. None of them are caused by too much sugar, but rather by the pancreas which does not work as it should. If 10 people each 5 pounds of sugar a day, not all 10 of them will become diabetics. Diabetes is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors. That said, being overweight can increase the risk for developing type 2 diabetes, and eating a lot of sugar can pack on the pounds. If your family has a history of diabetes, eating healthfully and exercising regularly is recommended to keep everyone’s weight in check.
Myth #3: You cannot eat banana or durian if you have diabetes
Again it’s not what you eat but the amount. People sometimes think that if they have diabetes they can’t eat bananas or durian as they taste sweet. All fruits have some carbohydrate, so you need to count them in your diabetes meal plan. If you want to include durians and bananas in your meal plan, become familiar with portion sizes and the number of carbohydrates in each.
Myth #4: Diabetics should avoid high glycemic index food
The glycemic index or GI value represents the type of carbohydrate in a food but says nothing about the amount of carbohydrate typically eaten. Portion sizes are still relevant for managing blood glucose and for losing or maintaining weight. Most GI studies are done on a single food.
For example, rice has its own GI and bread has its own too. But you don’t eat rice or bread alone. You eat it in a mixed meal where you combine different types of food. For example, eating rice with dhall or eating bread with condensed milk. The GI of a food is different when eaten alone than it is when combined with other foods. It is what you eat with that will determine your blood glucose level. So GI is not a very accurate reading. It’s just a guide. When eating a high GI food, you can combine it with other low GI foods to balance out the effect on blood glucose levels.
It also depends on the speed you eat your food. Eating a meal consisting of rice, vegetable and dhall and sipping your teh tarik slowly for an hour will raise your blood sugar much slower compared to gulping down a teh tarik in a hurry.