Skip to main content

Diabetes Debunked

Recently, I received an email entitled “Common Diabetes Myths Debunked”. Naturally, I was intrigued not by the debunking-of-diabetes-myths, but how they explained the realities of Diabetes. You see, I have met a great-many-people that have a great-many-brain cells, but they just can’t get past some of the “myths” or misconceptions of Diabetes even after I lay it out step by step. So, even if you think you know eevvverrrything about Diabetes, I encourage you to continue reading this post…you just might learn something :-) [Note, some of these are taken from said email, others are my own additions!]

Diabetes Myth #1: Diabetics can’t eat sugar.

Ok people, wake up and get to know your nutrition facts labels!!! Here is the kicker: carbohydrates ARE sugar! I think it’s so funny when people say, “I’m totally cutting sugar out of my diet!” And then they proceed to skip the cake, but pile the plate with pasta. Ironically, that bowl or pasta probably has more sugar than the cake!! So, the bottom line is yes, Diabetics CAN have sugar, we just have to be able to count the number of carbohydrates as we are eating them!

Diabetes Myth #2: Eating too much sugar causes Diabetes.

I liked the email’s answer so much, that I am quoting it for this one!

“There is no connection between sugar consumption and diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes is caused by a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors. If you have the right genes, getting older or bigger increases your chance of developing diabetes. But you only have so much control. Many people are young, fit and healthy when they get diagnosed. If you don't have those genes, you are unlikely to develop diabetes even if you are older and overweight.

Type 1 diabetes has a strong genetic component although no one knows exactly what triggers it. Sugar is not one of the suspects.

Bottom line: eating endless sweets will not cause diabetes. It may increase your dental bill, however.”

Diabetes Myth #3: If you are on insulin, your diabetes is “real bad.”

This sounds ridiculous, but I see pros and cons for both types of Diabetes. And this comparison should illustrate that neither type is “real bad” …it all depends on how well the individual person controls it.

Type 1 Diabetes Cons: Pancreas is completely, totally dead…like D-E-A-D…dead. No insulin can be produced. Injections either via syringe or insulin pump are required. Must test blood sugar ~5 times daily. Must count ingested carbohydrates. Must listen to your boyfriend ask you if your blood sugar is ok when you get cranky….ok, maybe that’s just me.

Type 1 Diabetes Pros: Technically I can eat anything as long as I have enough insulin to cover it. Don’t have to take pills!! (I hate pills) Don’t have to be labeled as “doing it to yourself” or “you got this because you are fat”…also, don’t have to be old enough to order supplies from the “Diabeetus” guy on TV!

Type 2 Diabetes Cons: Well, it’s still diabetes. You must test blood sugar (although it seems less often in most cases). Sometimes you have to take pills. You must watch your diet and exercise. Oh ya, and you fall into the Diabetes stereotypes.

Type 2 Diabetes Pros: No shots (usually)! You can be the next “Diabeetus” guy!

Moving on….

Diabetes Myth #4: You are a Diabetic, so you must loooooove shots!

Here is the short answer: no way Jose. Been diabetic for 11 years….hated shots for 23 years, and still counting.


Do any of you out there have a question about diabetes that you might be embarrassed to ask me in person? Or anything you are not sure of about Diabetes? Please leave a comment or email me


  1. "Bottom line: eating endless sweets will not cause diabetes. It may increase your dental bill, however.”

    Haha. Love it! I just went to the dentist yesterday, and no cavities! =D

    Love this post!

  2. "Type 1 Diabetes Cons: Must listen to your boyfriend ask you if your blood sugar is ok when you get cranky….ok, maybe that’s just me."

    Love how you fail to mention that there is a pretty high percent of the time that I'm right. Not always, but on a regular basis.



Post a Comment

Who has two thumbs and loves comments? Nerdy April!!! Type one out and hit publish!

Popular posts from this blog

The road to curing Type 1 Diabetes

From the moment of diagnosis, the road is rough, the learning curve is steep and the stakes are literally life or death. The map is less-than-helpful - paths originating from virtually every corner, coalescing at a center point (aka "diagnosis") and bursting back outwards - some paths cross and wrap around each other but others are isolated. And even with all of these roads, most of the territory is uncharted - how did we all get here and how will we all exit? Where are the obstacles we haven't found yet? Which passage holds the key to unlocking the solution?

On any given day I feel pretty isolated with this disease - I'm the only T1D in my group at work, the only one in mission control, the only one in my family. I go through the logistics of calling insurance companies, ordering supplies, changing sites and troubleshooting malfunctions mostly on my own. Even those pesky carbs really only get counted in my brain, no group think for a meal bolus here. But there is b…


Last week I had the chance to mentor a newly certified ADCO trainee - the NASA process is called "Hot On-The-Job-Training", or Hot OJT. What makes it "hot" you ask? Well, essentially I am hands off - he is sitting at the console, working all the plan reviews and updates, making calls to other flight controllers and to the flight director, reacting to anomalies and preparing material for the shift handover. My job is to act as the fault tolerance - a backup ADCO of sorts.

Tuesday was his last official day and by Wednesday morning he was in the backroom sending commands to ISS in preparation for the docking of a three-person Soyuz.

The beauty of this system is the gradual buildup in responsibility. There is a subtle shift from student, to subject matter expert, to fresh operations trainee to advanced trainee and finally to certification and real-time operations flight controller - the process takes two years on average and is considered by many to be enough specializ…

International Travel with Type 1 Diabetes

Whew! Back from one international trip and on to another next week! I will admit my eyes roll every time I get the "we're gunna need to pat you down" talk at TSA, but international travel is a whole different animal. I thought it might be fun to see what goes through my brain and into my bags for these types of trips!

I wouldn't be a NASA Flight Controller if I wasn't good at planning, the key to international travel as a T1D is PLANNING!

3 months prior

Assess supplies. Mine come in 90-days supplies so I like to inventory at least 3 months prior and make a plan to order more early if the trip is going to coincide with the end of my 90-day stock. In my experience supply companies are usually pretty good about adjusting orders as needed if you tell them the reason for the early request - just mention you have an international trip coming up and want to make sure to have plenty of supplies (and backups!) in time. Request a loaner insulin pump. It's likely the comp…
01 09 10