Busting myths about Type 2 diabetes

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There are plenty of misconceptions about diabetes, with old wives’ tales and sensationalist news headlines perpetuating certain myths. Type 1 diabetes doesn’t have a specific cause and is unavoidable, but Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable. So, it’s important to understand your risks and the actions you can take to reduce them.

Allow us to debunk some of the most-common myths:

Myth 1: Thin people don’t get Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is complicated. Some people who are overweight will never get it, while some people of a healthy weight will get it.

Being overweight weight will increase your risk of Type 2 diabetes, but there are many other risk factors — such as genetics, ethnicity, diet, inactivity and age.

Myth 2: It only affects adults

It was previously known as “adult-onset diabetes” and thought to mainly affect adults.

However, in recent decades it has increasingly been diagnosed in children — and the name has now been changed.

This may be a result of lifestyle changes in our culture, with increased childhood obesity, more sedentary behaviour and increased exposure to high-fat and high-sugar foods.

Myth 3: You can’t eat sugar anymore

Eating too much sugar can make it difficult to manage diabetes, and can lead to other adverse health effects. It is not necessary to stop eating sugar completely though.

Carbohydrates (which turn into sugar in the body) are our main source of energy, and are an important part of balanced diet, even for diabetics.

High-sugar treats can still be enjoyed in moderation, when sugars are well controlled.

Myth 4: It’s dangerous for people with the condition to exercise

Diabetics can and should exercise, it is an important part of staying healthy.

Movement can actually help to regulate blood sugar, but exercise can affect your sugar levels. Diabetes UK has some great advice for exercising meaningfully and safely while living with diabetes. We recommend you check it out.

Worried about Type 2 diabetes?

Don’t worry. The good news is that it’s both preventable and manageable — and in some cases it is reversible.

Losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle can reduce your risk. It can also improve the symptoms if you already live with the condition.

Key sources & further reading

NHS: Type 2 diabetes

Diabetes UK


12 June, 2023