(HealthDay News) -- On behalf of the millions of Americans living with diabetes, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) says it wants to dispel some common myths about the disease.

The ADA cites these examples:

  • If you are overweight, you will develop diabetes eventually. While being overweight is a risk factor for diabetes, it is not the only one. Family history, age and ethnicity also affect a person's risk.
  • Eating too much sugar causes diabetes. The problem isn't so simple. Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and unknown triggers, while type 2 diabetes is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors.
  • Diabetes is not that serious. In fact, diabetes causes more deaths each year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. For instance, having diabetes nearly doubles your chances of having a heart attack.
  • People with diabetes should eat special food. A healthy meal plan for a person with diabetes should be much like one for anyone else. The diet should be low in saturated and trans fats, moderate in salt and sugar, and include meals with lean proteins, non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and fruit.