Seven Diabetic Misunderstandings

Learn the truth about these diabetic myths.

Pizza Margherita Recipe

Pizza Margherita Recipe

Myth #1

Diabetics only need to be concerned about monitoring carbohydrates

Having diabetes puts a person at a greater risk for heart disease and stroke, which means following a heart-healthy diet is wise. Choose foods that are lower in fat, especially saturated and trans fat. Include lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains to boost fiber. Skip the saltshaker and processed foods, which are usually high in sodium.

Myth #2

My dinner guest is diabetic so I have to make special diabetic foods.

Diabetics do not need special foods. They eat the same foods that the rest of us should be eating —foods that are lower in fat and sodium, and that emphasize fruits, vegetables and whole grains. It's helpful, but not necessary, to have nutrition information from your recipes available if you have diabetic dinner guests. They may be interested in knowing the diabetic exchanges and nutrition facts, like those found in Healthy Cooking. This information will help them figure out how much of each food will fit into their meal plan.

Myth #3

Only children get Type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes used to be, and are still sometimes called, juvenile and adult onset diabetes, respectively. However, both adults and children can develop either type of diabetes at any time.

Myth #4

Type 2 diabetes is not as serious as Type 1.

Both types of diabetes can lead to serious complications if uncontrolled, which means taking care of yourself is just as important for Type 2 diabetics as Type 1.


Diabetics should avoid exercise.

Exercise is as important for diabetics as it is for those that are not diabetic. Losing weight can even help better manage Type 2 diabetes. Exercise can, however, decrease blood sugar, which makes monitoring blood sugar before and after exercise very important. For long bouts of exercise, monitor during exercise as well.

Myth #6

Diabetics can't have sweets.

Sweets aren't off limits to diabetics, however they are typically high in carbohydrates. Just like any other starch, they should be accounted for in meal planning and eaten sparingly. Keep in mind, sweets don't usually have a lot of vitamins, minerals or fiber. Choosing to "spend" starch exchanges on sweets means fewer starch exchanges for more nutritious foods like whole grains, dairy, fruits and starchy vegetables.

Myth #7

I don't have a family history of diabetes, so I won't get it.

You can still develop diabetes, even without a family history of the disease. This is especially true if you have other risk factors such as an inactive lifestyle or being overweight.