Diabetes is a complex disease, and research comes out with new discoveries almost every day. As a health professional, I can ensure you that we’re also learning new things. (And trust me, it’s not easy to keep up with science!)
Here are the top 3 FAQ about diabetes that patients used to ask me during my internship.
#1. Are artificial sweeteners safe for consumption?
Technically, yes. Consuming artificial sweeteners less than the adequate daily intake (ADI) should not pose a risk for your health or lead to any serious adverse effects. However, the studies are still equivocal regarding their effects on weight loss and blood sugar control.
You see, people who do not change their dietary habits and still stuff their faces with sugary treats, even if they are sweetened with sugar substitutes, will likely not see any improvement in weight and glycemic management. Recent findings show that nonnutritive sweeteners can modify the gut bacteria and stimulate appetite, thus aggravating your diabetes.
#2. What is the difference between carbohydrates and sugar?
Many people often use these two terms interchangeably even though they really shouldn’t.
So, what’s the difference? Get your math skills 101 ready (joke!).
Carbohydrates = sugar + starch + fiber
When shopping for food products, don’t just look at the sugar content. What you need to be doing is subtracting fiber to the amount carbohydrate (since fiber helps to lower blood sugar rather than elevating it) and ta-da: you get the “correct” amount of carb that can have an impact on your glycemia.
#3. Why does diabetes affect the feet and can lead to amputation?
Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can lead to diabetic neuropathy, a.k.a nerve damage. People with diabetes suffering from this complication may experience loss of sensation, particularly in their feet and legs. Foot ulcers can go undetected if regular foot care is not followed which can eventually force you to go under the knife.
The best way to prevent amputation is to keep your glycemia within normal range and to inspect your feet daily. If you discover that something is not right, speak with a healthcare provider as soon as possible. Whatever you do: Don’t ignore it!
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