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How to Prevent Diabetes

The protection of plant-based diets against diabetes appears to extend beyond weight control.

October 30, 2009 |
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Acknowledgements

Image thanks to cogdogblog.

Transcript

That’s about what an interventional study found last year. Put overweight meateaters on essentially a vegan diet and they start out at an average of 221 pounds and lose about 25 pounds a year ending up at 168 after two years, an average of 53 pounds of sustained weight loss.
So eating veg can counteract the forces that lead to obesity and diabetes, though only the vegans were really in the optimal range. Inclusion of even tiny amounts of meat (including fish) in the diet—less than a single serving a week, and you lose a lot of that veg protection.
So given the healthy weights of most vegan, it’s no surprise that they have just a fraction of the diabetes risk, but the researchers did find something that simply blew their minds. Even after controlling for weight, and exercise, and even how much TV they watched, those eating vegan still had half the diabetes risk. So at the exact same weight, the vegan diet has something that just cuts our risk in half. So even obese are vegans are still protected.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

To help out on the site please email volunteer@nutritionfacts.org

Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out theprequel on body mass differences by diet. Also, there are 1,449 other subjectscovered in the rest of my videos--please feel free to explore them as well!

Also, for more context please check out my associated blog posts: Paula Deen: diabetes drug spokespersonPreserving Vision Through DietPreventing and Treating Kidney Failure With DietPlant-Based Diets for Fibromyalgia, and Cinnamon for Diabetes

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the prequel on body mass differences by diet. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/catmk/ catmk

    I’ve been eating a plant strong diet for almost two years (plant strong is vegan without any added oils, white flour, sugar, or other processed foods). I’ve noticed that I have a slight runny nose–nothing like a cold or allergy, just enough that I always have to make sure I have a kleenex wherever I go. Is there something about eating this way that could cause that? I’ve been wondering if I should try eliminating wheat?

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/toxins/ Toxins

      Hello catmk!

      A runny nose could indeed be related to allergies or a possibly weak immune system. According to Dr. john Cannell (and much of the medical literature), Vitamin D has been shown to significantly aid the immune system in fighting off pathogenic diseases like colds and significantly help in reducing risk for breast cancer by 50%. One can assume that vitamin d can surely help with other forms of cancer as well. For more information on Vitamin d check out this great video http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/vitamin-supplements-worth-taking/ Also, previous to your whole foods plant based diet I can assume that you were not eating a particularly healthy diet. You may not have the full array of bacteria in your intestines from your previous eating habits since a typical American diet subdues our good bacteria. Bacteria in the gut has been shown to aid the immune system significantly and may assist you as well with your runny nose. http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/gut-flora-obesity/ Also, antibiotics, advil and tylenol (as discussed by Dr. McDougal) will kill your good gut bacteria so if you have had any in the past it is important to replenish your bacteria supply. As a side note, I hope your supplementing vitamin b12! Hope this information helps and you get better!

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/vincent/ vincent

    Good info, thanks. I have been eating (over 3 years) a predominately veg diet, very rare grains and gluten, healthy protein, nuts, seeds, little dairy, organic eggs…my fasting blood sugar is 100-110 apprx, but my post meal checks are about 130. Do I have a need for concern?

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/toxins/ Toxins

      Hello vincent!
      May I suggest eliminating egg consumption http://nutritionfacts.org/?s=eggs%27 and dairy consumption http://nutritionfacts.org/?s=dairy since these foods do not benefit your health, they only harm it. Also, to cut out grains and gluten is not necessary, unless you have a gluten allergy, not all grains contain gluten though. Grains are complex carbohydrates providing an excellent source of energy and they are very nutritious. Check out Dr. Greger’s video on rice http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/brown-rice-vs-black-rice/ Also, what kind of healthy “proteins” are you eating? All plant foods contain 9 essential amino acids so to supplement or compliment to get adequate protein is not necessary. The American Dietetic Association acknowledges this information. http://www.eatright.org/WorkArea/linkit.aspx?LinkIdentifier=id&ItemID=8417 Also, regarding how much protein, for the average human being, male or female, the minimum has been set to 20 grams per day. This is according to Dr. William Rose of the University of Illinois back in 1942. Dr. John McDougal states that our body only uses about 10 grams of protein per day http://www.nealhendrickson.com/mcdougall/031200puprotein.htm The World Health Organization states “adequate levels of protein intake are recommended to be 0.45 grams of protein per kilogram of ideal body weight per day”. http://whqlibdoc.who.int/trs/WHO_TRS_935_eng.pdf For me weighing at 150 pounds, that comes out to about 30 grams of protein per day. Note that the World Health Organization states this as a “safe” level, meaning it is not a minimum. Bottom line is, our body doesn’t need a large amount of protein, and since all plant foods contain more than adequate protein quality and levels, to focus on eating a “protein” is not necessary. Regarding your glucose levels, I cannot answer that. I do know that if you are following a balanced whole foods plant based diet, there is no need to concern yourself with diabetes since diabetes is reversed by this eating habit. http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/how-to-treat-diabetes/

  • Meg

    I enjoy your blog and videos. I would ask that when writing about diabetes that you please distinguish between Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. As you know Type 1 is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks and destroys the pancreas resulting in a lifelong need for insulin injections. Although a plant based diet can help with blood sugar control and overall health, type 1 diabetics will always need insulin and cannot be cured by diet or exercise. Failing to distinguish between the two contributes to the misinformation that type 1 diabetics have to deal with including my normal weight, highly active, plant-based 6 yr old. Thanks!!

    • Blanca Parrado

      importante tema quisiera seguir investigando la dieta para diabéticos

  • Maria

    Animal vs plant protein association with cancer… Why one (animal) and not the other has direct effect? Could it be in part the acidity produced by a higher content of sulphur-containing amino acids in animal proteins? Did I learn this from you?

    • Thea

      Maria: Dr. Greger has several possible links between animal products and cancer, including looking specifically at protein. I don’t have all the reasons at the top of my head, but one I remember very well, IGF1. Take a look at that video series by Dr. Greger and you will (hopefully) understand how animal protein would be linked to cancer, but not (whole food) plant protein.

      I’m not 100% sure, but this may be the beginning of the IGF-1 series:

      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/igf-1-as-one-stop-cancer-shop/

  • barbarabrussels

    Out of curiosity, do your cats eat lots of vegetables? Would you have recomendations for improving their diet? Thanks

  • http://www.naturallifeenergy.com/ Aqiyl Aniys

    Thanks for reinforcing the benefits of a plant based diet. I eat a plant based diet and it has returned my youth!