You may have heard that a person with diabetes should limit how much sugar they eat, but does eating too much sugar make you diabetic?
The answer is no.
As you may already know, there are two major types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, which means that your body’s immune system mistakenly attacks itself. The immune system misinterprets the insulin producing pancreas cells as the “bad guys” and destroys them. As you may remember from our previous post, insulin is needed to regulate our blood level. WIthout insulin, the sugar stays in the blood stream and not able to go into cells. This builds up and leads to high sugar in the blood and urine.
Like most autoimmune system, we don’t know exactly why and what causes type 1 diabetes, but eating too much sugar does not directly cause diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is different from type 1 diabetes, and is more related to a person’s eating habit, stress level, physical activity. Carrying some extra weight can put you at a higher risk in developing diabetes as you body becomes less sensitive to insulin, which means your pancreas has to work harder to produce more insulin. Eventually, your pancreas gets too tired for working extra hard, and wouldn’t be as productive. This would lead to high blood sugar level, and ultimately, diabetes develops because your pancreas to cope with high blood sugar is exhausted.
But is eating too much sugar to blame for type 2 diabetes?
Yes and no.
Having a little bit of sugar here and there is not harmful. Our bodies are really smart, and we can process it. However, there’s definitely such thing as TOO MUCH SUGAR. In our diet these days, added sugar are found everywhere, including ice cream, cereals, sauces, dressings, and almost any packaged product you can think of.
However, sugar definitely isn’t the only “bad guy”, as eating far too many calories can cause diabetes also. Eating too much calories lead to weight gain, and these calories can come from fats and protein as well. However, sugar usually is the “bad guy” that takes all the blame, since sugary products tend to be addictive, and a lot of us tend to overeat and overdrink (looking at the usual suspect: soda and juice) them.
So can people with diabetes eat sweets?
YES YES YES. You can still have your cake and eat it too, just not the whole cake! Like anyone without diabetes, we should always refrain ourselves from eating too many sweets. But you can still enjoy sweets sometimes.
If you have diabetes, carbohydrates, whether it be complex carbs or simple refined sugar, get all the blames since they directly impact your blood sugar. But in managing your diabetes, it is your overall diet that would make a difference more than just avoiding sweets.
Ask your Healthcare Team
Whenever you come across information about diabetes that you are not so sure about, please ask your physician, nurse and dietitians. We also have a team of nutritionists and dietitians at Eatology to help clear up any questions you may have regarding diabetes.