Diabetes Myths … Busted Part 3

ice cream and cake

Don’t fall for these common diabetes myths. What you need to know about sugar-free foods & how to handle big meals. Consider these diabetes myths busted!

In my first diabetes myths post this month, I busted a myth about fruit and another about when to measure blood sugar levels. Part 2 tackled myths about snacking and special diets. Today’s diabetes myths busted are two more that my patients, clients and readers have struggled with.

Diabetes Myth: If it’s sugar-free, it’s good to eat

Sugar-free cookies, cakes and ice cream are popular, but they aren’t necessarily low calorie or even low carbohydrate. And they can have a big impact on your diabetes management! Carbs other than sugar – such as the flour and sugar alcohols in sugar-free desserts – affect your blood sugar levels too. Often these desserts aren’t even any lower in calories, and that may be a problem for your waistline. And don’t forget that desserts are still desserts whether they are lower in calories or sugar or fat or anything else. We must all be mindful of the amount we eat, or they have the potential to crowd out more healthful, wholesome foods.

What to do: Scrutinize the Nutrition Facts panel on the package to look for total carbohydrate. Count this toward your carbohydrate goal for that meal or snack. Pay attention to calories too because those are what pack on the pounds.

Stay on track all year. Get your free copy of recommended tests and appointments for people with diabetes.

Diabetes Myth: It’s okay to eat lightly now to save up for later

I get that many people want to balance a big meal with light ones. On the surface, it even makes sense. But not so fast. Before you had diabetes, you might have been able to get away with skimping on breakfast and lunch to save up for your big plate of pasta or other favorite meal. But these days, the amount you eat – especially the amount of carbohydrate you eat – every time you eat matters. Eating a large meal rich in carbs is a recipe for high blood sugar (hyperglycemia). Plus, if you take diabetes medications that may cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) as a side effect, you risk hypoglycemia when you cut carbs.

Is it okay to skimp on breakfast and lunch to eat a big dinner if you have diabetes?Click To Tweet

What to do: Instead of thinking about carbohydrate intake on a daily basis, think about the amount you eat at each meal and snack. Carbs affect your blood sugar every time you eat. If you eat a small amount of carbohydrate, your blood sugar will likely go up a little. Likewise, if you eat a large amount, your blood sugar may go up quite high. (Of course, much of the effect has to do with medications and exercise too.)

Instead of adding extra carbohydrates to your meal, which will just jack up your blood sugar, swap one carb-rich food for another. Often I even prefer my patients with diabetes to forgo fruits, whole grains and other healthful carb-rich foods at an occasional meal, so they can enjoy a small slice of birthday cake. The key words here are occasional and small portion size.

I know that you’ve got lots to keep track of when you have diabetes, so I put together a 1-year schedule of what to do when. Keep track of your appointments, tests and results.

Get Your Free Copy of a Diabetes Health Schedule

Jill-Weisenberger_about-image-2
Jill Weisenberger

I'm Jill, and I believe simple changes in your mindset and health habits can bring life-changing rewards. And I don't believe in willpower. It's waaaay overrated. As a food-loving registered dietitian nutritionist, certified diabetes care and education specialist and certified health and wellness coach, I've helped thousands of people solve their food and nutrition problems. If you're looking for a better way to master this whole healthy eating/healthy living thing or if you're trying to prevent or manage diabetes or heart problems, you'll find plenty of resources right here.

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8 Comments

  1. mdtarekaziz on April 28, 2016 at 12:21 am

    This book is helpful for diabetes. If they take a step, I hope they should be control diabetes.

  2. Caitlyn on March 9, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    Great awareness for one of the best food marketing schemes out there, enjoyed the read!

    • Jill Weisenberger on March 9, 2017 at 8:20 pm

      Thanks for visiting my site. I agree, this is a big area of confusion for shoppers and a mistake for marketers!

  3. Noreen on July 6, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    I will do the best I can to keep myself well. I do what seems to work for me and try not to stress about it

    • Jill Weisenberger on July 6, 2017 at 12:22 pm

      Terrific. The not stressing part is key because it allows you to keep at it.

  4. Patricia on July 6, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    Such a misconception people have (and I did have) about SUGAR…sugar diabetes. “Oh, you are diabetic so you can’t have sugar. Here, have a slice of bread (some rice or potatoes). No”, I reply. “I have to watch my carbohydrates.”. They respond that they have something sugar free they could offer me instead. I inform them that we need to check the carbohydrates because although it says “sugar free”, it is not carbohydrate free and that’s what makes the numbers go up. The normal response to that is, “Oh? Then what CAN you eat?”. It is a learning process for all!!!!

    • Jill Weisenberger on July 6, 2017 at 3:56 pm

      That sounds very frustrating! It also sounds like you’ve learned a lot! 🙂

  5. Larissa on March 22, 2020 at 3:44 pm

    I recommend 2 things to my diabetic clients:
    1. Switch to plant-based diet, especially for weight loss purposes. That allows to get rid of intra-muscular fat playing huge role in insulin resistance. Beans, beans, beans! even allow to reduce insulin doses.
    2. For carbs, switch to black rice. Not only it is tasty (though my Chinese relatives wince as culturally it is poor people’s food), but also reverts insulin resistance syndrome.
    I hope these tips are interesting for you!

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Hi there! I'm Jill, a nutrition & diabetes expert and the author of 4 books.

Jill Weisenberger

I believe simple changes in health habits can bring you life-changing rewards.

And I believe willpower is way overrated.

Right here is where you can discover the mindset and habits to stick with healthy lifestyle choices most of the time - and drop the guilt when you don't.

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