Q: I’ve always heard that eating too much sugar can lead to diabetes. Is this true?
Many people believe this myth, but in fact there is no direct link between eating excessive amounts of sugar and developing diabetes. However, if you are already at risk for type 2 diabetes and you become overweight or obese from eating too much sugar—or too much of anything, for that matter—you can bring on diabetes.
The factors that put you at increased risk for diabetes include high cholesterol…high blood pressure…a history of gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than nine pounds…a family history of type 2 diabetes…or being of African-American, Hispanic, Native American, Pacific Islander or Asian-Indian descent. If you have none of these risk factors, gaining weight from overindulging in sugar is not likely to lead to diabetes. But it certainly can contribute to many other health problems, such as heart disease and cancer—so it’s still best to eat sweets only in moderation.
Source: Steven Edelman, MD, is a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego, and founder and director of Taking Control of Your Diabetes, a not-for-profit diabetes education organization based in Del Mar, California. He is a member of the HealthyWoman from Bottom Line advisory board.