, ,

The Food Plan to Prevent and Manage Diabetes, explained by a registered dietitian nutritionist

prevent and manage diabetesThe prevalence of type 2 diabetes is rising worldwide, especially in older adults. Diet and lifestyle are effective tools for type 2 diabetes prevention and management. Though a plant-based food plan may be new to the public, it is not new to researchers, clinicians, and dietitians. 

A plant-based diet is a powerful tool for preventing, managing, and even reversing type 2 diabetes. The data supporting various types of plant-based diets for diabetes prevention and management has been growing over the last number of years. Organizations such as the American Diabetes Association, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Harvard School of Public Health, are all recommending a more plant-based approach.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine put a plant-based diet to the test with thousands of patients who have type 2 diabetes. In a 2003 study funded by the  NIH, they determined that a plant-based diet-controlled blood sugar three times more effectively than a traditional diabetes diet that limited calories and carbohydrates. Within weeks on a plant-based diet, participants saw dramatic health improvements. They lost weight, insulin sensitivity improved, and HbA1c levels dropped. In some cases, you would never know they had the disease to begin with.

Transitioning to a plant-based diet is not difficult. Plant-based, or plant-forward diets are those characterized by eating patterns that emphasize legumes, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, with an emphasis on nutrient-dense, high-fiber selections, and limit animal products.

The evidence suggest that the type and source of carbohydrate (unrefined versus refined), fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated versus saturated and trans), and protein (plant versus animal) play a major role in not just preventing type 2 diabetes but have been associated with much lower rates of obesity, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, cardiovascular mortality, and cancer.[12]  As important as treatment for diabetes is the potential reduction in diabetes-related complications:  cardiovascular disease, renal disease, and Diabetic neuropathy.

As stated by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, “A plant-based diet is a powerful tool for preventing, managing, and even reversing type 2 diabetes. Not only is this the most delicious ‘prescription’ you can imagine, but it’s also easy to follow.”

Contact a registered dietitian nutritionist to get the support you need to implement a plant-based diet today.

More Resources

A plant-based diet for the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes

Plant-Based Diets & Diabetes by Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN
Today’s Dietitian Vol. 25 No. 7 P. 26

Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine