10 Myths About Diabetes and Food

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10 Myths About Diabetes and Food
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10 Myths About Diabetes and Food

Remember that these are suggestions, and to always consult your doctor before changing your diet and exercise routine.

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Beans

Myth: Beans are proteins so I can eat as many as I want.

Real Deal: In one-half cup of beans, there are 7 grams of protein and 15 grams of carbohydrates. This can add up if you are eating rice and beans!

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Cake

Myth: I can never eat cake again!

Real Deal: Diabetes is not about deprivation, rather it is about moderation. You can eat all foods when you have diabetes. Adhere to consistent carbohydrate-counting principles and eat your cake with a lean protein and a monounsaturated fat.

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Cardio

Myth: The harder I work out the better. Two cardio classes are better than one!

Real Deal: Nope — when your aerobic exercise becomes anaerobic from working out too hard, you raise your blood sugar. Wear a heart rate monitor to help stay in your target heart range and be sure you can talk to your neighbor to help stay in your aerobic zone.

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Sugar-Free

Myth: You can eat sugar-free cookies, cakes and ice creams without worrying!

Real Deal: NO. NO. Just because something is sugar-free, it doesn't mean it is carb-free. Carbohydrates raise our blood sugar because they are sugar!

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Fruit

Myth: Fruit is nature's gift. I can eat as much as I want.

Real Deal: Fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, beans and grains are all carbohydrates and, thus, affect our blood sugar.

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Medication

Myth: I don't need to watch my diet if I am on medication.

Real Deal: Eating large meals high in carbohydrates and not exercising still affects the body. If you take insulin, you may gain excess weight if you start eating more carbs now that you can control your blood sugar with insulin. Insulin is not a free pass to eat more than your body needs or more carbohydrates per meal. Keep in mind, insulin lowers your blood sugar but it does not lower your calories. Also, if you are taking oral hypoglycemic agents that help to make your body more sensitive to insulin, recognize your pancreas is still working hard! The more weight you gain, the more muscle you lose, and the more resistant the body becomes to insulin. You must change the way you eat and start moving.

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Prediabetes

Myth: If you have prediabetes, you will most certainly develop diabetes.

Real Deal: You can reverse insulin resistance and prevent diabetes through diet and lifestyle activities such as exercising for 90 to 150 minutes a week.

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Weight

Myth: If I can't lose 50 pounds, I might as well give up. I am destined to have diabetes just like my father.

Real Deal: Losing just 7 percent of your current body weight decreases your risk of developing diabetes by 58 percent. Set small achievable goals!

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Diet Food

Myth: It's better to eat diet food like diet soda and diet bread.

Real Deal: Diet soda and diet foods confuse the body and our hunger fullness signal. Instead, eat the real thing and just adhere to your allotted carbohydrates.

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Artificial Sweeteners

Myth: If you have diabetes, you should use an artificial sweetener.

Real Deal: Say no to artificial sugars. They upset your stomach and make you crave more sugar! How could that be helpful? It's not!

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For many, diabetes is a hardship that restricts what you can and cannot eat. But Laura Cipullo, registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, and author of The Diabetes Comfort Food Diet Cookbook and Healthy Habits, sees things differently. She tells us that "Diabetes is not about deprivation, but rather moderation." Cipullo gives us the real deal on several myths about diabetes and food.

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Cipullo discusses sugary and artificially sweetened foods such as diet soda and sugar-free desserts, and she gives us the lowdown on artificial sweeteners. She also gives tips for watching your weight and shares how regularly you should be exercising. If you're diabetic, find out which foods you can indulge in and eat as much as you want. She even answers the question, "Can I ever eat cake again?"

A diabetes diagnosis doesn't have to be the end of eating delicious food — it's about eating the right amount and the right kinds of food.

Check out the slideshow above for some of these common diabetes myths that Cipullo has debunked.

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