14 Biggest Myths About Type 2 Diabetes
The truth about type 2
First, a primer on what type 2 diabetes is: blood glucose governs your body's energy, and under normal conditions, a complicated set of interactions move glucose from the blood into muscle cells as quickly as possible. In type 2 diabetes blood sugar (glucose) levels rise higher than normal because the body makes insulin—the key hormone for regulating blood sugar—but can't use it properly.
Nearly 30 million Americans—a number that has doubled over the last two decades—have type 2 diabetes. Despite its prevalence, misinformation surrounds the disease, from what causes it to which foods are forbidden and even how to treat it. Here, experts reveal the biggest diabetes myths and set the record straight.
Myth: Type 2 diabetes is not that serious
Myth: Symptoms of type 2 diabetes are easy to spot
Related: Could You Have Type 2? 10 Diabetes Symptoms
Myth: Herbal supplements help diabetes
Myth: Eating too many sweets causes type 2 diabetes
Myth: Exercise can't help prevent type 2 diabetes
Myth: If you have diabetes, you can never eat sugar
Myth: Only overweight people get type 2 diabetes
Myth: Diabetes means you have to give yourself shots
Myth: It's easy to tell if your blood sugar is high by how you feel
Myth: If you don't take care of your diabetes, you'll end up on insulin
Myth: Insulin makes you gain weight
Myth: Once you're diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you have it for life
A lot of people who develop type 2 diabetes are carrying excess weight, says Dr. Kerr. "And they often don't exercise as much as they should. The good news is that if you're overweight and have type 2 diabetes, losing the extra pounds by cutting portion sizes and exercising more will be beneficial." In some cases, people can even reverse the diabetes process, especially if those lifestyle changes happen as soon as diabetes is diagnosed. In one study, losing an average of 15 pounds through lifestyle changes reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58% over three years.