Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

With increasing diagnosis of diabetes every year, the need for awareness of diabetes care also increases. While there is lot spoken about diabetes and its care, there are many misconceptions too. This article deals with one such question - can you get diabetes from eating too much sugar?

People commonly believe that eating excess sugar can cause diabetes, but the fact is that diabetes is caused by various factors and not just the diet. There are many risk factors for diabetes and one needs to understand those to be able to prevent diabetes. Just as preventing diabetes is important, managing diabetes is equally crucial to prevent complications. Hence, it is necessary to know the risk factors that can cause or worsen diabetes, rather than having misconceptions about eating too much sugar.

Can You Get Diabetes From Eating Too Much Sugar?

Can You Get Diabetes From Eating Too Much Sugar?

Diabetes is basically a metabolic disorder which affects the way in which insulin acts to control blood sugar levels. While it is believed that diabetes is very closely related to sugar intake, it has in fact, much to do about the metabolism as a whole. As for the question, can you get diabetes from eating too much sugar? The answer is no. Eating too much sugar cannot directly cause diabetes, however, it can increase the risk of diabetes and other lifestyle disorders due to various factors.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks their own cells producing insulin. This causes deficiency of insulin, which is normally responsible for glucose metabolism. As the body lacks insulin, blood glucose levels are not monitored and their increase, resulting in diabetes. So, can you get diabetes from eating too much sugar? – Surely not in case of type 1 diabetes.

On the other hand, type 2 diabetes is multifactorial; genetic predisposition, environmental factors, dietary and lifestyle choices play an important role. As even in this type of diabetes, the metabolism of sugar is altered, which results in higher blood sugar levels.

It is however, true that eating too much sugar is not good for health in any way and can result in several health problems. The commonest known problem is that excess sugar can cause weight gain, which itself is a major risk factors for many illnesses. Hence, excess sugar is best avoided for all reasons to maintain good health, but it cannot be a sole cause for diabetes. This explains that you cannot get diabetes from eating too much sugar alone, but you should be careful if it predisposes you to other risk factors that contribute to diabetes. While research continues on this issue, most experts believe that having higher blood glucose levels as in diabetes is related to a combination of factors and not just diet alone.

Some of the commonest risk factors for diabetes includes genetic predisposition, being overweight, physical inactivity or sedentary life, faulty dietary choices and over indulgence in high calorie foods and other inappropriate lifestyle choices. Presence of other metabolic disorders, heart diseases and obesity also increases the risk of diabetes, in addition to excessive stress and lack of adequate sleep. Those experiencing aging, impaired glucose tolerance, hormonal problems or hormonal fluctuations and certain conditions like polycystic ovarian disease or pregnancy in women too may be at greater risk of diabetes.

How to Prevent or Manage Diabetes?

While some factors cannot be changed, every attempt can be made to prevent diabetes and its complications.

Here are some lifestyle modifications to prevent or manage diabetes.

  • Follow a healthy lifestyle – Plan a healthy routine that balances, diet, activity, stress and sleep.
  • Plan balanced meals - Have a healthy meal plan with all necessary nutrients in the required portions.
  • Exercise regularly – Glucose tolerance and insulin resistance is closely related to physical exercise, hence physical inactivity increases the risk for diabetes. Regular exercises and being active improve glucose metabolism and help to maintain blood sugar levels.

Timely medical advice and taking the prescribed medications are very important along with following a healthy lifestyle. It is necessary to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, for which, regular monitoring of blood sugar is essential.

Coming back to the question, can you get diabetes from eating too much sugar? It is clear that eating too much sugar alone cannot cause diabetes, but for some, it can increase the chances of obesity and other risk factors of diabetes. Sedentary lifestyle and faulty dietary habits are a more serious concern, which can be prevented to control diabetes.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: July 31, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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