Public health messages have bombarded us in recent times advising us all to be cautious with our consumption sugar-filled food and drink, but, what are the real risks and can eating a lot of sugar actually cause diabetes? As it turns out the picture is less clear than health advisors would like us to believe. Public health authorities are not wrong in identifying the link between Type 2 Diabetes and sugar. After all, Type 2 Diabetes is a condition where the body fails to assimilate carbohydrates properly. For the diabetic, this causes a range of problems that are difficult to deal with.
Some of the common problems that diabetics face are high blood glucose levels (which, when extremely high can cause coma or death), and because of this a range of other associated health problems such as:
- Polyuria, where a diabetic feels the urge to go to the toilet frequently. For the diabetic, this can be maddening as very often it occurs at night when the diabetic patient is trying to sleep;
- Polydipsia, involves constant thirst;
- Prone to becoming dehydrated;
- Neuropathy, where painful tingling and burning sensations affect the feet and hands;
- High blood pressure and increased risk of cardio-vascular disease and stroke as a result;
- Macular degeneration and eyesight loss;
- Extreme fatigue;
- Higher risk of developing Obstructive Sleep Apnoea;
- Damage to internal organs such as; liver, kidneys, pancreas and gallbladder;
- Skin problems like the development of skin tags, brittle skin, lesions and serious infections like gangrene.
As you can imagine the life of a diabetic is not always very nice. You are definitely better off without Type 2 Diabetes! But the condition is manageable, so, your life is not over if a diagnosis comes your way.
Tackling the ‘Too Much Sugar’ Myth
Diabetic patients often present to medical practitioners obese and overweight. Many people, including sometimes even doctors who are less knowledgeable about the disease, think that obesity is the cause of diabetes. Further, they may even assume that it is the diet of the patient that is the cause of diabetes.
And this is where the misunderstanding about sugar and its role in diabetes is a problem.
Sugar is found in some form in just about everything. It’s in fruit and vegetables, dairy products, and is also found added to many manufactured, processed foods.
It is not the sugar directly which causes diabetes. However, if you eat too many unhealthy foods that are high in calories you risk piling on weight. Weight gain and obesity are risk factors for diabetes.
The picture we have at this point is still not clear, though. Let us explain further!
Obesity and weight gain is NOT itself responsible for being diagnosed with diabetes. It is the other way around!
Diabetes is a disease where the body cannot produce enough insulin, and the cells in the bloodstream responsible for accepting insulin don’t work properly. The result is high blood glucose levels, the cells of the body not receiving energy (and as a consequence the patient feeling tired), and glucose being stored as adipose (fatty) tissue.
Diabetes is responsible for weight gain, the inability of the patient to lose weight, tiredness and lethargy, and the development of cardio-vascular pathology in the patient.
So, rather than eating too much sugar causing diabetes, which is a myth that has a stronghold on public opinions, diabetes is itself responsible for the body’s abnormal reaction to, and assimilation of sugar in its many and varied forms.
Finally, that leads us to the real culprit in the diabetes problem: genetics. In order for you to get diabetes, you must have the gene for it. Diabetics often have family histories of the disease. If you have a mother, father, cousin, uncle, or grandparent who has experienced diabetes you are approximately 50% more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes. Combined with this, if you also eat unhealthy and don’t exercise your risk of getting diabetes increases yet again.
The good news is, even if you do have the wrong genetics that doesn’t necessarily mean you are a sitting duck for a diabetes diagnosis. Without the right environmental conditions, the diabetes gene may not find its expression in you. That means if you drink plenty of water, eat a healthy low-Glycaemic Index diet, and get plenty of exercise YOU MAY NEVER BECOME DIABETIC.
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Can Eating A Lot Of Sugar Cause Diabetes? A Common Misunderstanding Cleared-Up