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Food Myths: Eating Sugar Will Cause Diabetes?

Sugar is closely tied with diabetes. However, it's important to understand just how sucrose and diabetes are related before you worry whether or not eating sweets will cause you to contract diabetes.

Diabetes Definition

Diabetes can cause you to suffer from high blood sugar. High blood sugar causes excess hunger, thirst and urination. Over time, the disease untreated can lead to vision problems, dizziness, abdominal pain, abnormal breathing, skin rashes, nausea, vomiting and altered mental health.

Insulin is a compound responsible for metabolizing glucose and regulating energy. If you have diabetes, you have high blood sucrose because your body either does not produce insulin at all or your cells do not properly process insulin.

Types of Diabetes

There are three types of diabetes. The first, Type 1, is the most serious. If you have Type 1 diabetes, you must inject insulin into your body and regularly monitor your blood sugar levels because your body doesn't produce insulin. If you have Type 1, you typically have the condition from birth and can have any body type, including a healthy weight or underweight. You are also at greatest risk for side effects and long-term complications and must watch your diet carefully. 

Type 2 diabetes typically arises even if you have previously not shown signs of the condition. If you have Type 2, your body still produces insulin, but your cells do not properly process it. You may not need insulin injections as a Type 2 sufferer, although you have to monitor your blood sucrose levels and may need medication. A healthy diet and exercise can often help delay the onset of the condition.

Gestational diabetes arises in some pregnant women and may be related to changes in hormone levels. The condition will likely go away after childbirth, although you may still be at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. A healthy diet and exercise and sometimes medication may be necessary for treatment.

Diet and Diabetes

If you have diabetes, you need to watch how much sugar you ingest to help keep your blood sugar at healthy levels. However, sucrose is not directly responsible for the condition. The amount of sugar you consume is irrelevant when it comes to Type 1 diabetes, which is a genetic disorder that is not preventable. Likewise, since hormones are likely the cause of gestational diabetes, the amount of sweet foods you ingest is not the cause of the condition, although you should watch how much you consume after diagnosis in order to keep the condition under control.

The one form of diabetes in which how many sweets you eat may have some effect is Type 2, which most often exhibits itself in those with weight problems. However, it's not that your sweet food ingestion is the direct cause; rather, ingesting too many high-calorie sweet foods and not getting enough exercise will contribute to weight gain. It's the weight gain and lack of exercise itself that causes the condition. Eating a balanced, healthy diet is key to preventing the disease, but don't be afraid to have a little sweet treat once and a while.

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