Diabetes: Separating Fact from Fiction

Saturday, 05 January 2013 22:00 Written by  Administrator

By GMO Special Contributor Lily McCann

Diabetes is a disease that affects a disproportionate amount of African Americans. For every six white Americans who suffer from the condition, there are 10 diabetic African Americans. According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 15 percent of black Americans aged 20 or above has diabetes. It increases the risk of developing a number of serious health complications, some of them life threatening. One of the reasons that diabetes poses such a risk is that many people are ill informed about it. They choose to believe the multitude of myths that are in circulation about the disease rather than searching for the facts. Here is a rundown of the most common misconceptions about diabetes.

It Is Not That Serious a Condition

Some people believe that diabetes does not majorly impact upon the quality of sufferers’ lives. This can lead to people failing to take the necessary precautions to guard against it. The reality is that the condition causes more deaths per year than AIDS and breast cancer combined. It can also lead to blindness, severe ulceration, kidney disease, heart disease and strokes. There is nothing more frightening than the prospect of losing your sight. The American Diabetes Association estimates that African Americans are nearly 50 percent more likely to suffer from diabetic retinopathy than non-Hispanic white Americans. This means that it is important to lead a lifestyle that will reduce the likelihood of developing diabetes.

If you are Obese or Overweight Then you Will Develop Type Two Diabetes

The reality is that being obese increases the risk of developing this type of diabetes but is not the only factor that plays a part. Age and family history also play a role, and there is a theory that African Americans possess a gene that makes them more prone to type two diabetes. The idea that black people are more at risk of developing diabetes because they have a higher rate of obesity is believed to be a myth. Although it is true that African Americans do have a higher than average obesity rate, researchers have stated that they do not believe that this alone accounts for the elevated diabetes rate. When compared to white Americans of a similar weight, socio-economic background and age, black Americans still possess higher diabetes rates.

Diabetes Sufferers Shouldn’t Eat Starchy Foods

This is incorrect, as starchy foodstuffs can be important for maintaining a healthy diet. Rather than cutting them out altogether, diabetics should pay attention to their portion sizes. Three to four servings of foods containing carbohydrates per meal is the correct amount for most diabetes sufferers. Reducing your starchy food intake to zero could have damaging effects and is not advisable.

Diabetes Sufferers Need to Eat Special Diabetic Foods

Again this is untrue, as the American Diabetes Association states that a healthy meal plan for diabetics is generally the same as a healthy meal plan for non-diabetics. It should be low in fat and moderate in sugar and salt. Special diabetic foods usually offer no benefits that cannot be gained from maintaining a regular, healthy diet despite tending to be more expensive.

Diabetes Cannot Be Prevented

While some people have a genetic predisposition to diabetes, there are still steps that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of developing it. Consuming excess fat and sugar can increase the risk of contracting the disease. A recent article published in Women’s Health magazine also highlights the danger posed by yo-yo dieting. Each time women lose weight through dieting, they lose muscle and each time they regain that weight, they gain only fat. This means that people who yo-yo diet lose the muscle mass that would help them to burn visceral fat and keep their blood sugar under control. Another way of reducing the chance of contracting diabetes is to maintain a low-stress lifestyle. When you are stressed out, your body produces a chemical called cortisol, which temporarily raises blood sugar levels. This increases the risk of developing diabetes. Although there is nothing that you can do that will one hundred percent guarantee that you will not end up with diabetes, maintaining a healthy diet, avoiding stress and giving yo-yo diets the body swerve can reduce the risk significantly.

Like anything being informed is the best way to reach an understanding about any subject. Understanding diabetes is often the key to prevention and therefore facing the facts and risks head on will help anyone concerned about developing diabetes in the long run.



GlossMagazineOnline.com (GMO) Staff.


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