April 13, 2020
3 minutes to read
Whether the motivation is animal or worker welfare, environmental sustainability, personal taste, or something else, people with diabetes can safely adopt a plant-based diet. In fact, vegetarian and vegan eating habits have been shown to improve cardiovascular disease and blood sugar management.
“Plant-based diets represent an effective means of prevention and treatment of cardiometabolic diseases, especially in our high risk diabetic patients” Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD, director of clinical research at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, DC, said Endocrine today. “Staying away from red meat could potentially help reduce diabetes risk and overall mortality, as well as cardiovascular and cancer mortality rates. “
Reduce the risks
Plant-based diets have been shown to reduce total mortality and CV rates, especially those that include more unprocessed plant foods. Additionally, according to Kahleova, a plant-based diet is the only eating pattern shown to not only prevent, but also reverse cardiovascular disease.
Among Lifestyle Heart Trial participants, 82% of those who adopted a plant-based diet, did not smoke, practiced stress management, and walked for 30 minutes most days
reversed their atherosclerosis at 1 year with an even greater regression at 5 years.
Vegetarian eating habits have also shown specific benefits for diabetes.
“People who follow a plant-based diet see their risk of diabetes cut in half,” Kahleova said. “In addition, clinical trials have shown significant improvements in glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes.”
Whether the motivation is animal or worker welfare, environmental sustainability, personal taste, or something else, people with diabetes can safely adopt a plant-based diet.
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Data from a 22-week randomized clinical trial published in Diabetic treatments in 2006 showed a greater average percentage point reduction in HbA1c in adults taking stable medications for type 2 diabetes (n = 49) with a vegan diet (-1.23) compared to similar adults (n = 50) with a portion-controlled diet based on American Diabetes Association Guidelines (-0.38; P = .01). A meta-analysis published in Cardiovascular diagnosis and therapy in 2014, found that plant-based diets contributed to a -0.39 percentage point higher average reduction in HbA1c compared to other conventional diets in adults with type 2 diabetes (P = .001).
More plants, less waste
A registered dietitian specializing in diabetes care and education can help a person with diabetes adopt a safe and beneficial plant-based approach to food, according to Susan Weiner, MS, RDN, CDCES, FADCES, owner and clinical director of Susan Weiner Nutrition PLLC, and a Endocrine today Member of the editorial board.
“Taking a more plant-based approach for people with type 2 diabetes doesn’t necessarily mean ‘all or nothing’ when it comes to cutting back on animal products,” Weiner said. . Endocrine today. “Maybe it’s more about incorporating more low-carb, high-fiber vegetables that are high in antioxidants and phytonutrients, while still being satiating and satisfying.”
Whether the goal is ‘Meatless Monday’, eliminating red meat, or completely forgoing animal products, Weiner recommends adopting a new way of eating in small steps to avoid adding carbohydrates. instead of protein.
“A plant-based approach doesn’t mean a recommendation to eat more carbohydrate-rich snacks like potato chips,” she said. “It’s important to eat healthy foods that are low in carbohydrates, high in protein, and rich in nutrients, such as nuts, nut butters and seeds. Incorporating beans and legumes will increase the carbohydrate content in your diet, but also the fiber content, which is good.
As with any healthy diet, most meals should be cooked at home using healthy ingredients if possible.
“Frozen or ready-to-eat fast vegetarian meals can be high in sodium,” Weiner said. “The individual servings of these items can be portion-controlled, which may sound appealing at first, but they are often very small and need to be supplemented with veg.” – through Jill rollet
Baden MY, et al. Circulation 2019; doi: 10.1161 / CIRCULATIONAHA.119.041014.
Barnard ND, et al. Diabetic treatments. 2006; doi: 10.2337 / dc06-0606.
Ornish D, et al. Lancet. 1990; doi: 10.1016 / 0140-6736 (90) 91656-u.
Ornish D, et al. JAMA. 1998; doi: 10.1001 / jama.280.23.2001.
Tonstad S, et al. Diabetic treatments. 2009; doi: 10.2337 / dc08-1886.
Yokoyama Y, et al. Cardiovascular Diagn Ther. 2014; doi: 10.3978 / j.issn.2223-3652.2014.10.04.
For more information:
Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Susan Weiner, MS, RDN, CDE, CDN, FAADE, can be reached at www.susanweinernutrition.com, email@example.com; Twitter: @susangweiner.
Disclosures: Kahleova does not report any relevant financial disclosures. Weiner reports that she is a clinical advisor at Livongo Health.