Does sugar cause diabetes?

advice for diabetics

Sugar doesn't make you diabetic. Something goes wrong in the body due to other causes. Nevertheless, sugar can contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. Too much sugar can lead to obesity. And if you are overweight, you run a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

Why "sugar disease"?

Because it is a disease in which the blood sugar is out of balance, diabetes is often referred to as 'blood sugar disease'. This term occasionally causes confusion and incorrect conclusions. For example, it is not the case that people with diabetes are not allowed to eat sugar.

If you have diabetes, your body can no longer regulate your blood sugar level properly. Your body uses the hormone insulin to keep your blood sugar in balance. Insulin is produced in your pancreas.

Diabetes type 1 and diabetes type 2

There are different types of diabetes, of which type 1 and type 2 diabetes are the best known. The different types of diabetes resemble each other, but are very different.

Diabetes type 1

The body of people with type 1 diabetes no longer produces insulin. This is because the immune system accidentally destroys the cells that produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes is therefore also called an autoimmune disease. People with type 1 diabetes have to inject insulin a few times a day, or wear an insulin pump. Type 1 diabetes can occur at any time in your life and is not related to a bad lifestyle.

Diabetes type 2

In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. Moreover, the body no longer reacts well to insulin. This is called insensitivity to insulin. People with type 2 diabetes usually get medication, nutritional and exercise advice. Sometimes someone also has to inject insulin.

Relationship between sugar and type 2 diabetes

Whereas the cause of type 1 diabetes is not related to sugary foods, type 2 diabetes can be. A person who eats or drinks a lot of sugar increases the risk of obesity. Being overweight increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. Research also shows that drinking high-sugar drinks can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by 20%. This starts with one can of soft drinks per day.

Little exercise, aging and hereditary predisposition also increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

We're consuming too much sugar

avoid getting overweight

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that no more than 12.5 (women) or 15 sugar cubes (men) of free sugars should be ingested per day. On average, a person takes in 30 sugar cubes a day. No less than 20 lumps are free sugars. 1 sugar cube is about 4 grams of sugar.

Read more about Sugar addiction.

Hidden sugars

Often it's because of confusing labels and misleading advertisements that we get too much sugar. For example, there are more than 50 pseudonyms for sugar. In addition, sugar is 'hidden' in many products. Did you know, for example, that a glass of apple juice often contains more sugar cubes than a glass of cola? And that wok sauces, sate sauce and ready-made fruit yoghurt and dairy drinks often contain a lot of sugar?

Do we have to stop using sugar altogether?

Sugar isn't necessarily bad for you. You even need sugar to think and move. However, ingesting too much sugar can cause problems. You can get cavities in your teeth, your pancreas can become overloaded and you can get intestinal problems.

Too much sugar, especially from soft drinks and fruit juices, can also lead to the production of fats in your liver. It also stimulates the production of abdominal fat and fats in the blood. This can make your body less sensitive to insulin, which in turn can lead to type 2 diabetes.

Resources used:
https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/enjoy-food/eating-with-diabetes/diabetes-food-myths/myth-sugar-causes-diabetes
https://www.pcrm.org/news/blog/does-sugar-cause-diabetes


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