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Don't Fall for these Diabetes Myths

Get the Facts

Diabetes affects over 29 million people in the United States, but one in four don’t know they are living with it, and many have misconceptions about this challenging disease. This list will help you separate the myths from the facts.

Myth: Diabetes is not a big deal.
Fact: Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are chronic diseases — which means you’ll be dealing with them for the rest of your life. They can significantly increase your risk for a heart attack, heart disease, nerve damage, kidney failure, and even blindness.

Myth: Overweight people will develop Type 2 diabetes.
Fact: Not everyone with diabetes is overweight, and not everyone who is overweight will develop diabetes. However, being overweight is a risk factor that could lead to Type 2 diabetes.

Myth: Eating too much sugar causes Type 2 diabetes.
Fact: Type 2 diabetes is caused by a combination of genetics and lifestyle issues like being overweight or physically inactive. It isn’t known whether eating too much sugar causes diabetes; however, a diet high in calories can lead to weight gain, and being overweight increases your risk.

Myth: A diabetes-friendly diet is very restrictive.
Fact: When you have diabetes, you do need to make smarter decisions about what you eat. But the overall goal is really no different than what we all should aim for: a healthy, balanced diet. This means choosing foods that are rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, low- or non-fat dairy products, and lean proteins.

Myth: You can feel if your blood sugar is too high or too low.
Fact: The only way to know whether your blood sugar is too high or too low is to check it. You can’t always rely on how you feel, because any symptoms you may be having could be the result of something completely unrelated, like having a cold or the flu. Diabetes is a chronic condition that cannot be cured, but you can manage your symptoms. Talk to your doctor about steps you can take — like increased activity levels, adjusted eating habits, and medications — to help you control it.

Sources: “Diabetes,” © 2012, “‘You Can’t Eat Sugar’ and Other Diabetes Myths,” © 2011, UnitedHealthcare Services Inc.; “Living Better with Diabetes,” SCAN Health Plan; “Understanding Diabetes,” and “Diabetes Myths and Facts,” © 2017, Cigna.

This article is for general informational purposes only. Consult with professional advisors regarding medical matters; LACERA does not offer medical advice.

Understand the Difference
Type 1 Diabetes Type 2 Diabetes
  • More common in young people
  • Body’s immune system has attacked and destroyed the cells that make insulin
  • Body’s insulin production is decreased
  • More common in middle-aged and older people
  • Increased risk for people who are overweight and/or have a family history of diabetes
  • Body does not make insulin well

Valuable Diabetes Resources from LACERA-Administered Healthcare Plans

Our healthcare plan providers offer valuable resources to help you boost your overall health and better manage diabetes. Check out the links below for more.

Healthcare Plan Provider What’s Offered
Anthem Blue Cross
Kaiser Permanente
  • “Living Healthier with Diabetes”: informative website with tips and tools for keeping diabetes under control. Go to
  • Healthy Balance Weight Management Program: classes that help you manage your weight through healthy eating, daily habits, and physical activity. Led by Kaiser Permanente medical and weight loss professionals at Southern California locations. Anyone can attend; $10/week. For details, go to

Spring 2018 Workshop Presentations

Twice annually, we host Staying Healthy Together workshops to provide retirees with valuable health information as well as an opportunity to stay connected to each other. Following are slideshows related to diabetes from our April 17 event.