No matter what you’ve heard about what people with diabetes should and shouldn’t eat, the answer isn’t black and white. Everyone reacts differently to food, and some people with diabetes may be able to consume foods that others with the same diagnosis are restricted from eating. But there are always common sense guidelines you can follow to make sure your diet — whether you have diabetes or not — is healthy and balanced. Here are seven myths about what diabetics can and can't eat that just aren't true.

1) Myth: Low Carb Diets Are the Best

The idea of eating a high-fat, low-carb diet is a popular one among people with diabetes. But recent research suggests that cutting out carbs isn’t necessarily better for our blood sugar. A diet that focuses on quality carbs — such as whole grains, fruits, starchy vegetables, beans and legumes — can help prevent heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity in people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

2) Myth: All Carbohydrates Are the Same

Unfortunately, that’s not true. Although all carbs are broken down into glucose for your body to use as energy, there are different types of carbohydrates. The type of carbohydrate you choose can have a significant impact on your blood sugar levels and overall health. For example, choosing one piece of fruit over another can have a significant impact on your blood sugar response

3) Myth: Diabetes Means No More Cake

People with diabetes can eat cake. But fruit is healthier for you — so if you want a dessert, choose strawberries over cake. If you have Type 2 diabetes, that means eating fruits high in fibre, like strawberries. This will keep your blood sugar levels steady without spiking them to dangerous highs. The same goes for people with Type 1 diabetes; fibre helps control blood sugar as well.

4) Myth: The Glycemic Index (GI) Tells You How Carbohydrates Affect Blood Sugar

The glycemic index is a measure of how much blood sugar rises in response to a food that contains carbohydrates. People with diabetes need to monitor their blood glucose after eating, but GI doesn’t say anything about other aspects of food, such as its protein or fat content. Furthermore, different foods may have different effects on blood sugar, even if they have similar GIs. Always talk to your doctor before changing your diet or starting any new medications.

5) Myth: Low GI Means Low Carbohydrate or Reduced Calorie

The glycemic index is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100, where 100 is sugar. Low GI foods have values of 55 or lower.

6) Myth: People With Diabetes Shouldn’t Eat Fruit

Even though fruit is high in sugar, there’s no reason why people with diabetes shouldn’t eat it. In fact, according to a 2014 study published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care, regular consumption of whole fruits was associated with lower body weight, less waste circumference and healthier lipid levels in women with type 2 diabetes. The researchers recommend that diets for people with diabetes include more than five servings of fruit per day to improve health status.

7) Reality Check

There are a lot of myths about what people with diabetes can and can’t eat. Some people believe that diabetics must avoid fruit because it contains so much sugar, but in reality, fruit — strawberries, in particular — is part of a healthy diet for people with diabetes.


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