Scientific evidence shows that the link between sugar and diabetes is through obesity and resultant insulin resistance.
By Toibah Kirmani
Diabetes, despite its prevalence, is a widely misunderstood disease. In 2021, 537 million adults (20-79 years) were living with diabetes – one in ten adults. This number is predicted to rise to 643 million by 2030 and 783 million by 2045.
Arguably, the biggest misconception regarding diabetes is that eating sugar causes it. This is not true. Scientific evidence shows that the link between sugar and diabetes is through obesity and resultant insulin resistance.
“Diabetes is not caused by sweets. However, in order to treat the condition, the percentage of sugar intake must be decreased, in addition to taking in oral hypoglycemic medications and insulin,” says Dr Sanauallah Qureshi, a physician based in Kashmir, India.
Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disease, involving inappropriately elevated blood glucose levels. “It is marked by hyperglycaemia, brought on by a malfunction of the beta cells in the pancreas. In response to the body’s glucose levels, beta cells create the hormone insulin. It is distinguished by additional metabolic characteristics and problems such as neuropathy (nerve damage), retinopathy (damage to the blood vessels of retina) and nephropathy (deterioration of kidney function),” explains Dr Qureshi.
According to the American Heart Association, it is advisable to limit the daily sugar intake to 36 grams for men and 25 grams for women. As long as your body produces enough insulin, there’s no harm in enjoying those sweets – in moderation. It’s important to remember that balanced diet and adequate exercise are fundamental to good health.