How much do you know about diabetes? Many people think it is pretty simple, where you eat too many sweets and your body gets sick because of it. Is that true? Yes and no. That is what happens, but it is not exactly what happens. It’s not as simple as that. It is much more complicated than that. If you don’t know everything that goes on inside your body when it comes to diabetes, now is the best time to learn more.

Diabetes is a complex health condition. It involves more than simply eating too many sweets. When a person is told that they have diabetes, they should receive a bit of diabetes education from their healthcare provider which puts it in basic terms. This basic education will also help them to begin managing their health condition, which can last for a long time. Part of this diabetes education explains how the body processes food, and the other part involves learning which foods to eat and which foods to avoid, so that your body can thrive.

When you eat food, your body does one of two things. It either immediately burns the food as fuel or energy, or saves the unused food as body fat to use at a later date. It sounds simple but it is more involved than that. As it turns out, when you eat food, the body breaks it down differently, depending on the food source. Diabetics must monitor their sugar intake by keeping track of how much sugar is in the foods they eat. This means that not only cookies and candy are sources of sugar, but so are fruits and even dairy such as yogurt and plain, unflavored milk has naturally occurring sugars inside.

What’s more, foods like bread, rice, and pasta are broken down in the body and then converted into sugar. This means that when a diabetic person thinks about what they eat, they must not overlook the food sources which break down into sugar, because if they forget, they can accidentally eat too much sugar and many feel sick because of it.

In addition to learning about which food sources may have hidden sugar or may convert to sugar, the other part of diabetes education is learning how the body works. For example, every single cell inside your body (a blood cell, a skin cell, or any kind of cell) uses simple sugar as fuel to do its duties inside the body. For diabetics, they must strive to avoid eating too much sugar so they don’t hurt their bodies, but they still need some sugar for their bodies to function properly. Everyone does.

The truth is that each cell is kind of like a locked door and in order for the sugar to get inside the cell, the body needs a key for the locked door. For everyone, diabetic or not, insulin is the key to open the locked door. For typical healthy people this isn’t a problem, but it is for diabetics, whose bodies don’t make enough insulin. This means their cell “doors” remain “locked” and the cells can’t get the sugar that is needed.

As you can see, diabetes is much more complex than you may have originally thought. That’s why it is important to have your health managed by someone who offers comprehensive care.