Eating Sweets Causes Diabetes! True or False?
Eating sweets cause diabetes! This is not true as sweets do not cause diabetes. However, eating too many sweets may influence and trigger the genes in cases of type 2 diabetes. Everyone knows that diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar, but can sugar alone increase your risks of diabetes?
Diabetes mellitus, commonly known only as diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by high levels of sugar or glucose in the blood. There are three types of diabetes: type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. From all the three types of diabetes known, none of them is related to sweets and snacks. However, cases of people diagnosed with diabetes are increasing worldwide.
According to the American Diabetes Association, it has been estimated that about 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year.
How is Diabetes diagnosed?
Different tests and examinations are available for diagnosing diabetes. A1C, FPG, and OGTT are the most routinely performed tests.
A1C is a test used to diagnose diabetes, which measures the average levels of glucose in the blood in the last 2 or 3 months.
Normal – less than 5.7%
Prediabetes – 5.7 % to 6.4%
Diabetes – 6.5% or higher
FPG or fasting plasma glucose is another test used to diagnose diabetes, which checks the levels of glucose in the blood when fasting. You should fast at least for 8 hours before you do the test. No drinking or eating is allowed. FPG test needs to be done in the morning, before breakfast.
- Normal results are when the levels of glucose in the blood are less than 100 mg/dl.
- Prediabetes is considered when the levels of glucose in the blood are 100 to 125 mg/dl.
- Diabetes is considered when the levels of glucose in the blood are 126 mg/dl or higher.
OGTT or oral glucose tolerance test is another testing method for diabetes. First, the levels of glucose in the blood are checked and after 2 hours when drinking a sweet drink.
- Normal results are when the levels of glucose in the blood are less than 140 mg/dl.
- Prediabetes is considered when the levels of glucose in the blood are 140 mg/dl to 199 mg/dl.
- Diabetes is considered when the levels of glucose in the blood are 200 mg/dl or higher.
Are sweet treats for diabetics allowed? Do they cause diabetes?
Many people tend to believe a myth that eating too many sweets increases the risk for diabetes. However, this is not true, and no type of diabetes can be caused by eating too many sweets and snacks.
Studies have shown that eating desserts and sweets increase the risk of diabetes, but just sugar is not enough to cause the disease. A healthy and well – balanced diet contains the necessary type and amount of sugar for the human body. However, eating sucrose, the type of sugar normally found in snacks, sodas or cereals, when consumed more than it should, increases the risk of diabetes. It does not increase only the risk for diabetes, but it also increases the risk for heart diseases, mood swings and it even contributes to weight gain as well. You can eat that cake, just not the whole cake!
When you eat sweets and snacks, the levels of sugar in the blood rises and in order to maintain normal sugar levels in the blood, the pancreas releases the necessary amount of insulin. In diabetic people, the insulin production or the insulin action in the human body is impaired, so the levels of sugar in the blood can’t return to normal levels. Even though eating too many sweets and snacks does not cause diabetes, if you have a predisposition for the disease, eating too many sweets and snacks for a long period can accelerate the onset of the disease by putting extra pressure on the beta cells of the pancreas which normally produce insulin.
To Snack or not to Snack?
Once diagnosed with diabetes, some people find it very hard to avoid certain types of food to maintain a balanced diet. One of the big questions is also to snack or not to snack?
When it comes to snacking, there are a lot of options. Snacks can help you get rid of hunger, but when with diabetes you should choose the foods you eat wisely. Making smart food choices should start with understanding the effects of carbohydrates on the glucose levels in the blood. Carbohydrates brake down into sugar in the digestive system. When you eat sweets and snacks, the levels of glucose in the blood can spike. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a snack for diabetics should contain 15-30 grams of carbohydrates, not more. Don’t forget to know the sizes of your portions as well as to count the carbohydrates into your meals. By counting what you eat and by choosing foods with a low glycemic index as well, you can make smart choices about your diet.
If snacking makes a part of your day and you can’t avoid it try these sweet snacks for diabetics:
- Grapes and Grahams – are a sweet treat for diabetics.
- Fruits and Nut Yogurt
- Cereal Nut Mix
- Pear and Cheese
- Tuna Salad Crisps
- Sandwiches with Avocado and Tomato
- Bananas and Chocolate
- Veggies and Guacamole
- Mini Pizza
- Ham and Pineapple
- Chips and Dip
- Yogurt and Fruit Parfait
- Cucumber Topped Rye Crisps
- Strawberries and Fruit Dip
- Dried Apricots
- Orange – oranges are a healthy citrus fruit recommended for diabetics as long as you eat them together with other healthy foods.
- Graham Crackers
- Bread and Peanut Butter
- Popcorn – are safe foods for diabetics, and they are a healthy whole-grain snack, containing about 1 gram of fiber, about 15 grams of carbohydrates and 1 gram of protein per cup.
- Strawberries and Cottage Cheese
- Pudding with Bananas
- Carrots with dressing
So, you can choose whichever you like. It’s all up to you. Just remember to keep small sized portions. You can still enjoy sweet things from time to time.
Diabetic Snack Tips
One great tip for counting the number of calories you take and all the nutrients necessary is to make the food yourself. This way you will know exactly what goes into it. When you order food from a restaurant you can never be sure what you will get.
Keep your snacks to 150 calories. If you eat big size portions, your snacks can turn into real meals. Make sure not to extend a number of calories you take. Make sure to keep your snacks to 150 calories or lower.
Choosing the carbs you take carefully
|Instead of||Try these healthier options|
|Eating white rice||Wild or brown rice instead|
|Mashed potatoes and fries||Sweet potatoes and yams|
|Regular Pasta||Spaghetti squash or whole-wheat pasta|
|White bread||Whole-grain bread|
|Cereals with sugar||Cereals with low – sugar but high in fibers|
|Instant Oatmeal||Rolled oats|
|Cornflakes||Low-sugar bran flakes|
|Corn||Leafy greens, peas, etc.|
|Eat More||Eat Less|
|Healthy foods like olive oil, fish oil, avocados, raw nuts, etc.||Fast foods|
|Fruits and vegetables||Packaged foods|
|Whole grain bread, legumes, and cereals with low-sugar and high in fibers||White bread, white rice, regular pasta, sugary cereals|
|Organic food, fish, shellfish, chicken, turkey||Red meat from GMO feed animals or even processed meat|
|Milk, cheese, eggs, and other dairy products||Fat – free yogurt, etc.|
Can You Prevent Diabetes?
To prevent diabetes, you should better focus and watch out those extra pounds you might have. One of the risk factors for diabetes is being overweight. Maintain a well-balanced diet and eat healthily. If you are overweight try losing some weight. Try eating a little bit less, more fibers and less salt or saturated fats. Carbohydrates with a low glycemic index tend to reduce your risk of diabetes. Wholegrain bread, beans, lentils or oats are food rich in carbohydrates with low glycemic index. A good way to lose extra weight is by leading a healthy and active life. It is recommended to exercise at least for 30 to 60 minutes daily. Exercise will not help you maintain a balanced weight, but it will also make the insulin work more effectively. If you are a smoker, you should quit smoking.
In the end, you can see that desert for diabetic is not forbidden. Instead, when with diabetes, you need to monitor the amount of sugar you consume a day as well as other sugar substitutes. There is no need to avoid a group of foods entirely to prevent diabetes. Instead, try choosing your meals and snacks carefully. Eat foods with low glycemic index. If you are craving for sweets, try eating a fruit salad or a piece of fresh fruit. Remember that you can still eat your preferred chocolate cake or pumpkin pie, even when diagnosed with diabetes. You will just need to eat smaller portions of your favorite desert. Even with eating sweets and snacks from time to time, in smaller portions, of course, you can manage to keep normal levels of glucose in the blood and manage your diabetes well.