Over the years, sugar has developed quite a reputation. While many see it as a wonderful treat for special occasions, others avoid sugar like the plague. There are a variety of myths surrounding these simple carbohydrates, especially in relation to health and diabetes. Here are five prevailing myths about sugar and diabetes.
1. Sugar causes diabetes.
The most predominant myth about sugar is that it causes diabetes. The fact is that eating sugar—just sugar, in and of itself—doesn’t cause diabetes. Diabetes is caused by your body’s inability to properly use or make insulin, which is necessary to moving glucose into cells. This causes the glucose to build up in the blood, leading to hyperglycemia.
The main diet culprit to diabetes is excess calories. Too many calories equates to too much fat in the body, fat that prevents insulin from doing its job. Add on top of that inadequate exercise, old age, and genetic predisposition and you have a potent mix for diabetes. While sugary foods do contain calories, eating bulk jelly beans won’t cause diabetes assuming you eat other foods and don’t live a sedentary life.
2. People with diabetes cannot eat sugar.
People with diabetes were originally coached to avoid sugar, but recently that advice and mode of thinking has changed. Turns out, a lot of foods contain sugars and avoiding them altogether is near impossible. These days, many nutritionists and doctors teach diabetics how to properly fit sugar and sweets into a healthy diet Whether or not you have diabetes, you can get 10 percent of your daily calories from added sugar, so purchasing treats from your favorite online candy store isn’t a bad thing.
3. Always choose foods with a low glycemic index.
The glycemic index measures how foods affect a person’s blood sugar levels. Generally, low GI foods will spike the blood sugar less than high GI foods, but things are more complicated than that. Watermelon, for example, has a pretty high glycemic index, but it’s not exactly unhealthy for people with diabetes. Experts suggest that mixing low and high GI foods will balance into healthy, moderate blood sugar levels.
4. Fruit should be avoided.
Fruit tend to be in high in sugar, which means you should avoid them if you have diabetes, right? Not exactly. Cutting out fruit might mean less sugar in your diet, but you would also be losing some significant sources of vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and energy. Berries are rich in anthocyanins, which help flexibility in arteries, preventing them from hardening. Strawberries help control blood glucose after especially starchy meals.
5. Sugar-free foods are the way to go.
Foods labeled as “sugar-free” still contain carbohydrates and calories. Sugar-free cookies, for instance, are still made from flour, a carbohydrate that itself naturally contains sugars. Most sugar-free foods don’t offer any health benefits and are more expensive than their normal sugar-containing counterparts. It would be better to stick with candy wholesale than to resort to sugar-free alternatives that only add more fat and sodium to enhance flavor.