Tuesday, January 13, 2009

D-Myths Lesson 4: You Get Diabetes From Eating Too Much Sugar

This is probably the only diabetes myth that actually has a basis in fact, as remote as it may be. Now, I know that I keep promising an explanation of the various differences between type 1 diabetes and type 2, but please be patient as I want to finish these myths first. In order to understand this myth though, you have to understand something.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. That means that the body, for some Unknown, unpreventable reason, decides to attack itself. There are various things that the body will attack, and based on that, there are various autoimmune diseases. Type 1 diabetes is just one of many. (Unfortunately.) Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body attacks and kills the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. This results in no insulin production, which results in a need for insulin from an external source. There is nothing you can do to prevent type 1 diabetes. They don't know what causes it. Most of the people who get diabetes are young children, many of whom are skinny.

There are quite a number of reasons that someone would make this mistake. Let's go through them:
~The full name for what we know as diabetes is Diabetes Mellitus. Mellitus means sugar. There are other kinds of diabetes out there, but this one is Sugar Diabetes, (or sugar 'betes... ;). So it makes sense, that someone with deficiencies in their intelligence would think that sugar causes it, right?
~When the scientists first began to understand a little about diabetes, they realized that if the patient would be put on a starvation diet it would prolong their life. Now we know that it is because diabetes is a result of the body's inability to metabolize food properly, but in those days they didn't understand that. So I guess it stands to reason that there are people who are 100 years behind on their knowledge of medicine.
~This is, I believe, the main reason for this myth. Type 2 diabetes is not autoimmune. It is caused by a number of factors, including lifestyle and genetics. While many prominent endocrinologists insist that genetics play a stronger role in the development of type 2 diabetes, the fact remains that lifestyle options are a contributing factor. In addition, people are often diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and told: "You need to watch your sugar intake". I will go into this more in a later post, but for now, suffice it to say that type 2 diabetes is preventable, and in some cases treatable, through healthy lifestyle choices. Type 1 diabetes is not.

Child Ish Behavior, I hope I made myself clear. The next myth will be a further explanation of sugar intake for people with diabetes.

I think I need some candy..... :-D


Child Ish Behavior said...

Thanks, that does make sense.

Something Different said...

My pleasure. Anything to clear up the dumb misconceptions of this world....