Common belief suggests that having diabetes means that you must have consumed large amounts of sugar. While it is true that excessive sugar consumption can raise your risk of diabetes, it is not necessarily the main reasons why you have developed the disease. Other factors such as your genes, lifestyle, and diet also play a part.

The sugar in the spotlight doesn’t just refer to table sugar or those that we used to add more flavors in our drinks or cereal.  Added sugars or those that are added to foods and beverages when they are prepared or processed can also lead to health problems.  This type of sugar also comes in many forms, such as corn syrup, fructose, glucose, honey, maltose, molasses, and others.

Sugar and diabetes

There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Diabetes management centers in Provo note that both negatively affect how your body regulates glucose or blood sugar, which is needed for energy. When glucose accumulates in the blood and goes into the cells that require it, complications can arise. These include vision loss, kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, as well as damage to blood vessels and organs.

  • Type 1 diabetes – means your body doesn’t produce insulin. This causes your immune system to attack the cells that produce insulin. This, in turn, damages the cells and undermines the ability of your body to manage blood sugar levels. Type 1 diabetes is often hereditary and is usually common in kids and teens, but can also occur in older adults.
  • Type 2 diabetes – means the body doesn’t respond to insulin as well as it should. Those with this type of diabetes have insulin resistance, which means that their body still produces insulin, but cannot use it effectively.  Obesity and inactivity are a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. This occurs as people age, but kids and adolescents are now starting to develop it

It is important to note that eating sugar and sweets does not cause diabetes. Consuming lots of sugary and fatty foods, however, can cause you to become overweight, which can then lead to diabetic conditions. Carrying excess weight, furthermore, can make it hard for you to control your diabetes and increase your risk of developing other serious health concerns like stroke and heart disease.

Stopping sugar

sugar free word

You don’t need necessarily need to stop eating sugar altogether, as this ingredient is found in most foods, including fruits and vegetables. What you should cut down on is added sugar. These include not just sweet foods like cookies, candies, and chocolate, but also soda, pasta, prepackaged sauces and juices, ketchup, and even ready-to-eat meals.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting your consumptions of foods with a high amount of sugar, including soda and sweetened beverages.  For women, that is about six teaspoons of sugar and no more than 100 calories daily. For men, that is about nine teaspoons and no more than 150 calories daily.  Check out this infographic from (AHA) for tips on cutting out added sugars.

If you or your loved one has already had diabetes, too much sugar consumption can make the symptoms worse. This is because the said condition can make it hard for the body to regulate or manage your blood sugar levels. Even with type 1 diabetes, you should still be careful about your sugar consumption. Talk to your provider for other tips on managing the condition.