Diabetes Expert Dr. Kahn: “Eating A Lot Of Sugar Definitely Does Not Cause Diabetes”

Below is a short clip of Joslin’s Dr. C. Ronald Kahn saying, “eating a lot of sugar definitely does not cause diabetes.” Dr. Kahn is a world-recognized expert in diabetes and obesity research. He’s authored more than 800 studies, reviews, and chapters. In January, Kahn was awarded the Wolf Prize in Medicine, considered to be the third most prestigious award after the Nobel Prize. You can read more about him here and see some of his studies here.


Narrator: Could eating too much sugar cause diabetes?

Kahn: Eating a lot of sugar definitely does not cause diabetes, if you don’t eat so much sugar that you gain weight.

And in fact, sugar to a certain extent, is okay because it stimulates the pancreas to make more insulin which actually helps control the blood sugar. And so, actually you need a certain amount of carbohydrate in your diet to have your pancreas working normally.

What I always tell people is that, especially if you’re at risk for diabetes, I have people tell me all the time, that I’ve got a family history of diabetes. I watch how much sugar I eat. And I say that that’s not the right focus. The focus for you should be to make sure you keep your weight down, because people who have a family history of diabetes, if they stay thin, have no more risk of diabetes than the general population.

But if they become overweight, then their risk is 10 times higher than in the general population. So you can make a difference ten fold in your risk of diabetes if you’ve got a family history. If you stay thin, it’s good, if you gain weight it’s bad.

Having worked in diabetes for 20 years, I’d say this is one of the biggest myths surrounding the disease. People think blood sugar directly equates to sugar that they eat. Sugar in, sugar out. It just doesn’t work that way. In fact, the fat people eat is probably a better indicator of whether they’ll develop diabetes.

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