On behalf of the millions of Americans who live with or are at risk for diabetes, we are committed to helping you understand this chronic disease. Help us set the record straight and educate the world about diabetes and its risk factors by sharing the common questions and answers below.
If you’re overweight, will you always develop type 2 diabetes?
Being overweight is a risk factor for developing diabetes, but other risk factors such as how much physical activity you get, family history, ethnicity, and age also play a role. Unfortunately, many people think that weight is the only risk factor for type 2 diabetes, but many people with type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight or only moderately overweight.
Is diabetes caused by eating sugar?
A diet high in calories from any source (including sugar) contributes to weight gain and weight gain increases your risk for type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and unknown factors that trigger the onset of the disease. Type 2 diabetes is not caused by sugar, but by genetics and lifestyle factors.
Do sugary drinks cause diabetes?
Research has also shown that drinking sugary drinks is linked to type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends that people avoid drinking sugar-sweetened beverages to help prevent type 2 diabetes.
Do people with diabetes need to eat special foods?
A healthy meal plan for people with diabetes is generally the same as healthy eating for anyone – low in saturated fat, moderate in salt and sugar, with meals based on lean protein, non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and fruit. Foods that say they are healthier for people with diabetes generally offer no special benefit. Most of them still raise blood glucose levels, are more expensive, and can also have a laxative effect if they contain sugar alcohols.
For more information on the facts and myths about diabetes, visit diabetes.org.