The truth about sugar

Aster News


The truth about sugar

Love it or hate it, sugar is an unavoidable part of our daily diets. We consume it every single day, be it with that innocent cup of tea we have every morning or thanks to a large can of sauce that’s more savoury than sweet. Sugar can be found in ubiquitous stuff, like your morning coffee, cakes, chocolates, cookies, diet sodas, white bread, salad dressings or cereals boasting about their ‘low fat’ contents. And then, there are sugars that simply sneak into your diet without you noticing – through fruits, honey and even milk. But as you may have actually guessed, not all sugars are the same. So, is there a ‘right’ kind, and if so, how do we ensure we have it?

“Type 1 diabetes occurs in a genetically susceptible individual when unknown environmental factors trigger the condition,” explains Dr Ajith Kumar, specialist endocrinologist, Aster Clinic, Al Qusais. “Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is caused by genetic factors as well as lifestyle habits.”

Type 2 is the more common of the two, accounting for about 85-90 percent of all cases diagnosed, and is caused due to a variety of reasons including a sedentary lifestyle, high blood pressure or even a history of diabetes in the family. While it’s important to know that reaching for that second doughnut won’t directly give you diabetes, weight gain and obesity, on the other hand, are actual concerns.


The most dangerous belief about diabetes is the idea that the condition can be easily dealt with using minimal attention and care. In fact, diabetes is a serious, chronic disease. Two out of three people with diabetes die from cardiovascular-related episodes, such as a heart attack or stroke. However, diabetes can be controlled with proper medications and lifestyle changes.

A lot of people believe that if someone is overweight, he/she will automatically get Type 2 diabetes. This is not true for every individual. In fact, most overweight people never develop Type 2 diabetes, and many people with Type 2 diabetes have an average weight or are only moderately overweight.

Diabetics cannot eat sweets at all. There is no reason people with Type 2 diabetes cannot eat sweets, as long as they fit it into a normal meal plan, or make sure the intake is combined with exercise. Eating small portions and including them with other foods can help slow down digestion, stopping them from wreaking havoc on your blood sugar levels. The key is to have a very small portion and save sweets for special occasions.

It’s not true that everyone who has diabetes needs to have insulin shots. Diabetes can be controlled with many oral and injectable medications, of which, insulin is the most effective. But not all people suffering from diabetes need to take it. The oral medications are safe and effective, but they are to be carefully chosen to suit the needs of the patient.

Many patients claim that they know when their blood sugar is high or low, leading to the myth that regular testing is not needed. In fact, you cannot rely on how you are feeling when it comes to your blood sugar level. You may feel shaky, lightheaded, and dizzy because you’re coming down with a cold or the flu. The longer you have diabetes, the less reliable those feelings become. The only way to know for sure is to check your blood sugar regularly.

Dr. Ajith Kumar

Specialist Endocrinologist 

Aster Clinic, Al Qusais 


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