Get the facts about diabetes so you can protect yourself from this deadly disease.

Myth: Diabetes is not that serious.
Fact: Diabetes causes more deaths per year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.

Myth: Being overweight causes type 2 diabetes.
Fact: Weight plays a role, but there’s more. Family history, ethnicity and age are factors. Know your risk.

Myth: Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.
Fact: It’s complicated. Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and unknown factors. Type 2 diabetes is caused by genetics, lifestyle, diet and other factors.

Myth: If you’re diabetic, eat only small amounts of starchy foods (bread, potatoes and pasta.)
Fact: Portion size is key. Whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice, potatoes, yams, peas and corn can be part of your diet, in addition to fruits, beans, milk and yogurt.

Myth: People with diabetes can't eat sweets or chocolate.
Fact: The key to sweets is to enjoy small portions and save them for special occasions.

Myth: People with diabetes should eat special diabetic foods.
Fact: A diabetic’s meal plan is generally the same as it is for everyone — eat foods low in saturated and trans fat, moderate your salt and sugar, enjoy meals based on lean protein, non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and fruit.

Drinks to Avoid

Research has shown that drinking sugary drinks is linked to type 2 diabetes. Here’s a list of beverages to avoid. Consider water instead.

  • regular soda
  • fruit punch
  • fruit drinks
  • energy drinks
  • sports drinks
  • sweet tea
  • other sugary drinks

What’s the problem with these drinks? They raise your blood glucose and provide way too many calories. See for yourself:

  • Just one 12-ounce can of regular soda has about 150 calories and 40 grams of carbohydrate. That’s the same amount of carbohydrate in 10 teaspoons of sugar.
  • One cup of fruit punch has 100 or more calories and 30 grams of carbohydrate.

For more information, visit the American Diabetes Association website.