Can Sugar Cause Diabetes

Many people have the mistaken idea that eating too much sugar causes diabetes. Since diabetes used to be called Sugar Disease and is so closely linked with the blood sugar called glucose, it is easy to see the reason for this mistake. But evidence shows that simply eating lots of sugar does not cause diabetes.

According to family practitioner John Messmer, "A much bigger problem is that people are substituting refined sugar for fresh food and consuming sugary foods rather than whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Whole grain bread is better than donuts, whole grain cereal is better than sugary kids' cereals, and fresh fruit is better than syrup laden canned fruit."

In fact, eating too much of anything—carbohydrates, fats, or proteins—can make you fat, and being overweight can cause diabetes. For overall health, eating a healthy diet with moderate amounts of a wide variety of wholesome foods is best. And do not forget the exercise.

John Messmer, "The Lowdown on Sugar: Is Sugar as Unhealthy as Everyone Claims?"

The idea that someone can develop diabetes simply by eating too many sugary foods is a common misconception.

The idea that someone can develop diabetes simply by eating too many sugary foods is a common misconception.

People with type 2 have a strong genetic tendency to develop diabetes. This means they often have one or more relatives who also have type 2. However, other causes also play a big role, especially being obese and having an inactive lifestyle. Too much fat interferes with the muscles being able to use insulin, and lack of exercise only makes it worse.

A diagram of the human digestive system includes the pancreas, which creates the hormone insulin in order to help the body process glucose.

Actor Mark Consuelos, who is married to actress Kelly Ripa, does not look like he could develop type 2 diabetes. He is slender and healthy, eats properly, and works out regularly. However, his grandfather died of complications from type 2, and his father, great aunt, aunt, and cousin all have it. In addition, he is Hispanic, an ethnic group with high numbers of type 2 diabetics. So he has pledged to maintain his healthy, active lifestyle in the hope that he will not develop the disease.

Fortunately, if he should be diagnosed with type 2 later in life, he has good role models in his family for successfully managing diabetes. His father, diagnosed in 2001, is still "able to participate in activities such as aerobics, weight training, and taking walks with his grandchildren,"10 he says.

Many times, people with type 2 diabetes can bring their illness under control by losing weight and maintaining a healthy diet and getting more exercise. Sometimes they have to take insulin as well, but not always.

Some people are not able to control their diabetes, or they do not realize the terrible consequences of not controlling it. Becky Allen remembers her grandmother and her great aunt, who developed type 2 in middle age and did not eat a healthy diet. In fact, they so loved sugary foods, they would eat too much of them and then manipulate their insulin to make up for the rise in the blood glucose levels. This is a dangerous thing to do. Becky remembers what happened to her beloved grandmother and aunt: "As they aged and their bodies manifested the cumulative results of denial—the heart disease, excess weight, progressive loss of vision, the terribly long healing process from any casual injury or broken bone (of which there were many), poor circulation, and the attendant terror of some related amputation—they came too late to any recognition of how the choices they had made impacted their health."11

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