We consult the experts to find out which old wives’ tales are actually wiser than we think. By Deborah Lin
Photo: Humusak / www.pixabay.com
“Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.”
While diabetes is characterised by abnormally high blood glucose levels, it’s inaccurate to attribute its cause to the overconsumption of sugar.
A person is said to be diabetic when she is unable to fully use the glucose in her blood because her body does not produce the sugar processing hormone insulin (as in type 1 diabetes) or the hormone is ineffective (type 2). Type 2 diabetes, where the insulin produced is insufficient or does not work properly, is more common.
Although genetics can play a part, this type of diabetes is more often linked to lifestyle factors, says Dr Eric Khoo, consultant endocrinologist at National University Hospital. It also occurs more frequently in people over 40, and particularly those who are overweight and sedentary, according to the Health Promotion Board (HPB) of Singapore.
The myth probably came about because consuming too much sugar can cause temporarily high blood glucose levels. But you won’t develop diabetes after a week of indulging in sweets.
However, an excessive sugar intake will add calories to your diet. Kept up over time, it can lead to weight gain and the subsequent development of type 2 diabetes, warns Dr Khoo.
> Verdict: FALSE. Still, you should limit your sugar intake to between eight and 11 teaspoons a day, advises the HPB.
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