Image Credit: Kristina DeMuth. This image has been modified.

A Super Healthy Plant-Based Diet vs. Diabetes

We’ve known that type 2 diabetes could be reversed by an extreme reduction in food intake for nearly a century and a half, since the 1870 siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War. This has been demonstrated experimentally. By starving people enough, you can reverse diabetes. Diabetes specialists “have long known that the tiny proportion of iron-willed people [with diabetes] who can substantially decrease their weight and maintain this, can exhibit a return to normal metabolism.”

“A label is required to allow doctors to recognize and appropriately manage this subgroup who were willing to do anything to get rid of their diabetes. These are the Health Motivated. At the time of diagnosis, the Health-Motivated individuals will benefit from being advised that they are likely to be able to reverse their diabetes completely” by losing up to one-fifth of their body weight. And then—and only then—if they “show that they are not sufficiently strongly motivated should the routine guidelines for managing Type 2 diabetes be rolled out,” which include lots of drugs. Unfortunately, the control of blood sugar with medication has proven to be unsustainable and may actually exacerbate obesity, making us put on more weight and, thus, creating a vicious cycle.

There has got to be a better way.

Instead of starving oneself by eating less food, what if we just ate better food? What if we ate a diet that emphasizes all-you-can-eat greens, lots of vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and some whole grains, and is at least 90 percent plant-based? This would be a diet including at least one big salad every day (like a pound of raw greens), veggie-bean soup, a handful of nuts and seeds, fruit at every meal, a pound of cooked greens, and some whole grains, but no refined grains, junk food, or oil, and a restriction on animal products. Thirteen diabetic men and women followed this diet for an average of seven months.

How did they do?

Hemoglobin A1C is considered the best measure of blood sugar control. Below six is normal—that is, non-diabetic. The official American Diabetes Association target, however, is to get diabetics at least down to seven. Anything above seven is uncontrolled diabetes. In my video Reversing Diabetes with Food, you can see a stunning chart that plots how the study participants’ hemoglobin A1C levels responded over time after they start plowing in the plants. All subjects had had diabetes for at least seven years, and they started off with hemoglobin A1C levels ranging from as low as 6 to as high as 12. After they began following the plant-heavy diet, their levels consistently dropped, month after month. After about seven months, their average A1C dropped from a diabetic 8.2 down to a non-diabetic 5.8. The majority dropped down to normal, and this is after dropping most of their medications.

Now, this was a pilot study with only a handful of people, no control group, and including only people who could actually stick to the diet—essentially, a retrospective case series, considered one of the weakest forms of published evidence. However, the magnitude of the effect they found indicates that a high nutrient-density diet can be very effective for some people.


In Reversing Diabetes with Surgery, another one of my videos, I discussed how type 2 diabetes can be reversed with an extremely low-calorie diet. And, as I’ve just shown, type 2 diabetes can also be reversed with an extremely healthy diet—but is that because it is also low in calories? That’s the million-dollar question I answer in Diabetes Reversal: Is It the Calories or the Food?.

You may be aware that I’ve touched previously on the ability of healthy diets to prevent and treat type 2 diabetes. (See Plant-Based Diets and Diabetes and Plant-Based Diets for Diabetes if you haven’t yet watched those videos or want a refresher.) It’s so exciting to be plugging in the final puzzle pieces.

What about the benefits of blood sugar medications and more moderate diets? I discuss that topic in When Drugs and Diets Don’t Lower Diabetes Deaths.

Other videos of interest include:

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:

 

Discuss

Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.


111 responses to “A Super Healthy Plant-Based Diet vs. Diabetes

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        1. Part of these studies on low carb showing higher mortality, are because standard low carb diets are also high in animal protein, and bad fats.
          I don’t believe it’s the low carb.
          I certainly don’t recommend low carb for normal people, but I do recommend much lower carb than the ADA does for diabetics.
          However, that can be done without animal protein, and with slow acting carbohydrates ( vegetables and lower glycemic fruits ).
          I find as a diabetics insulin resistance is gotten under control with a low carb diet controlling blood sugars, Then, and only then, can we start adding more -healthy- carbs. The pancreas in type 2’s can heal if the damage done by high sugars stops.
          But piling on high carb grains, root vegetables, or fruits, for instance, while there is insulin resistance, just causes more damage.
          Diets like the rice diet, only worked because obese people lost the weight causing the insulin resistance.

      1. Low carb diets just mask the symptoms of diabetes. People with diabetes who go low carb still have diabetes. This becomes obvious whenever they try eating real food.

        Dr Greger is discussing reversing (type 2) diabetes altogether.

        It is worth bearing in mind though that Bernstein has type 1 diabetes. This may require a different dietary strategy than eg type 2 diabetes or type 1.5 diabetes (LADA).

      2. Dr. Bernstein is very helpful for type 1’s. He, himself, has been a type 1 for 70 years. He’s in his 80’s, still practicing medicine. He still has good kidney function, eyesight, no neuropathy, etc., etc.
        He isn’t a vegetarian or a vegan, but he works with those who are. He does not approve of keto or added fat, says vegetables are very important.
        He’s a man definitely worth learning from.

      3. No, it doesn’t. And the vast majority of research shows that consumption of animal-based food products are directly correlated with diabetes, heart disease, high bp, and even a number of cancers. The key is healthy, complex carbs. Lots of greens, beans, nuts, whole grains, fruit, etc. This way of eating also has plenty of protein.

        Are you diabetic?

        1. No Anna, i’m not diabetic. I eat the same way you do. I am a bio-chemist, nutritionist, who works with them.
          I doubt you are a type 1. It isn’t caused by insulin resistance.
          If type 1’s eat a lot of carbs, even healthy ones, they need too much insulin.
          Are you aware that for a true type 1, only one gram of carbs raises their blood sugar 5-8 units on average? Food volume affects them also. And their glucose levels go up even if they eat absolutely nothing. The liver keeps making glucose. It is a completely different disease.
          Don’t assume everyone else’s body behaves exactly the way yours does.

  1. I have been pondering the cost of organic food and I think that eventually I will be growing some of it myself.

    The pound of greens a day is expensive and might require a whole garden just for that.

    Price is when organic versus not organic comes back into the equation.

    I am thinking that I can grow things like tomatoes and potatoes and squash and even things like green grapes, but greens for a pound of greens per day becomes a mental puzzle.

      1. Not really David, at least not in my neighbourhood. The single most common objection I hear from people to wfpb eating is cost…. and I sm not talking about organic. Run of the mill, ordinary whole food is expensive, especially fresh anything. Broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, green beans, tomatoes.. ridiculous prices unless featured as a ‘loss leader’ in the store that week. Drugs are free or nearly free for the wealthy (with insurance) and those on benefits.

        1. Cost has many factors. I eat organic, 90% plant based, meaning very little expensive meat, fish and poultry. No processed junk food like a pint of Haagen Dazs for $5. So my grocery bill is about the same as it was when I ate the average western diet. Meat probably twice a day. That’s over with. Plus I prepare and cook all of my meals. Breakfast is cheap. Oatmeal and fruit. I eat PBJ’s for lunch, an avocado, nuts, more fruit (I’m not diabetic) and veggies like carrots, celery or cucumbers. Dinner is grains, legumes or potatoes, green veggie and a protein, typically plant based. But I do eat 2-3 servings of meat per week and one is usually a wild caught fish. The typical response to changing diet for better health is called an excuse.

          1. Bert, sounds like you’re doing great and better yet, you really enjoy what you are eating – as do I. I am an astute shopper, and a good cook. Same as you, all my meals are home cooked, wfpb with no animal products, but rarely organic unless competively priced. Just sayin’ though that I have to agree with folks who say that fresh fruit and vegies is darn expensive. When the month is too ‘long’ for me, I water fast.

          2. I belong to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). I get more vegetables than I can consume for $100/month, year round. Google CSAs for the area where you live….

    1. I was thinking about it yesterday.

      I watched potato videos and watched Dr McDougall saying that they wouldn’t let mothers buy potatoes with WIC.

      And I watched a few people who did the all potato diet and one woman said that it was about $20 per week, but if her family was doing it, the cost would have been $100 per week.

      Dr McDougall was talking about countries which survived and doubled in population because of potatoes and what came to me was that the church I used to go to went to an inner city housing project and served them and one of the things they did was to plant vegetables and flowers.

      My friends who grow potatoes grow them inside their apartments and that seems like something which might be better than having the kids throwing tomatoes at people.

      1. Navy Corpsman,

        That is what I have been pondering.

        I have had gardens before when I was young and suddenly, you have 50 zucchinis, and 100 tomatoes, and radishes, but the other things didn’t grow.

        1. Microgreens interest me because they grow in a few days, so even if something happened where they didn’t grow, I could do a “Microgreens Take 2”

          I wonder how big of a space it would take to grow a pound of microgreens?

          1. Hey Deb- I grow a mix of sprout seeds (broccoli, mustard, radish, alfalfa, etc) every week and it’s great. It makes me feel like a super gardener that every week, even in winter, I have a fresh batch of greens. I’ve seen research that they typically have a higher phytonutrient content than the full-grow counterparts too

            You can get gallon sized jars for growing sprouts on Amazon and get a few lbs out of just one every week. 2 should be plenty

                  1. If you have the inclination, this is a WONderful book! Four Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman. I stumbled across it and was floored with how interesting it is. Coleman looked at the latitude on a world map and noticed that France was at the same latitude as he was in Maine, but vegetables grow in France in the winter, too, although not in Maine. He discusses hoop houses and tells of his experience growing vegetables all year round–in Maine!

          2. Deb, I love micro greens & eat them almost everyday. Arugula is my favorite. But I’ve never tried to grow them. I don’t have the time these days, but would love to try growing them in the future.

        2. You can always stagger when you plant seeds. For greens you could plant 7 – 10 seeds per week until late fall, and harvest one mature plant per day. In about two months from your first planting you’ll be in business. Kale and some hearty greens can tolerate as low as 20 degrees.

          1. I have been pondering how to stagger them. Thanks for the idea. Seems like something that I could succeed at and not have it be like a whole garden outside to weed and water.

        3. So right, Deb. Growing a few tomatoes, eggplant, beans or whatever in a summer isn’t hard. But trying to grow all your own food (or at least most, or some) isn’t really easy. I think farmers deserve more for their work and the uncertainty of farming, etc. (not talking about agrobusinesses). It’s work. And planning. And still having things not work out. But it does seem to me that healthful foods are too expensive. Like why should brown rice cost more than white, hulless barley more than pearled, etc.? A chance (on the part of marketers, not necessarily farmers) to goudge those who feel they must get foods closer to ‘whole’, with minimal refining. Food in general has gotten so MUCH more expensive over the last decade or two. Except, of course, ‘fast food’, subsidized from the get go.

    1. Lonie,

      I was looking it up yesterday and I read a Dr. who analyzed 6 Keto/blood sugar studies and he said that Keto improved blood sugar for 3 months, then stopped working.

      I see those results from some of my friends.

      I ponder that I have read that protein and fat can be broken down into glucose for the body to use once the carb/glucose stores have been depleted.

      I am wondering if that process takes a few months?

      Pure speculation on my part.

      I just thought it was interesting because someone was talking about it taking them 3 months to get their blood sugar under control with WFPB and how scary that process is.

      How frustrating it has to be for them to watch their Keto friends have better blood sugar for those 3 months. Must be tempting to jump ship.

      Unfortunately, then they store up more fat in their pancreas so even if they come back to WFPB it might take even longer the next time? Possibly?

      1. Due to cost/time issues, we have no long term keto diet trials in humans.

        Rodent studies with keto diets are flawed as a model for the recent keto diet fad, as most experimental rodent keto diets are all also protein restriction diets, which has known benefits. However, they still paint an ugly picture of longer term metabolic outcomes:

        A high-fat, ketogenic diet causes hepatic insulin resistance in mice, despite
        increasing energy expenditure and preventing weight gain

        Hepatic steatosis, inflammation, and ER stress in mice maintained long term on a very low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet
        Impaired glucose tolerance in rats fed low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets
        A small amount of dietary carbohydrate can promote the HFD-induced insulin resistance to a maximal level
        Long-term ketogenic diet causes glucose intolerance and reduced β-and α-cell mass but no weight loss in mice

        This study used a high fat and protein experimental diet, closer to keto diets as practiced during the current fad.

        Long-term low carbohydrate diet leads to deleterious metabolic manifestations in diabetic mice

        As with a lot of “broscience”, there’s a lot of tunnel vision/cherry picking involved. Those considering self-experimentation with a keto diet would be wise to investigate the literature on high fat/low carb diets and the microbiome, metabolic endotoxemia, systemic inflammation, liver fat, and ER stress.

        It turns out that there are large populations that were practically immune to diabetes, and they didn’t consume a high cost/nutrient density Fuhrman-type diet. Even white rice (East Asia), corn meal (rural Africa), or potatoe (Native American) staples are fine so long as total protein is moderate/low and added fats are negligible. See the comparative epidemiology in The Double Puzzle of Diabetes

        All that’s required is low

        1. What’s required is avoiding metabolic syndrome by proper exercise, and avoiding weight gain. Most of these societies mentioned work hard, and eat far fewer calories, (and no junk food), than western nations.
          You can consume a high carbohydrate diet when your body uses those calories for fuel.

        2. Thanks Darryl. Your comments are always enlightening.

          Your last line though was a cliff hanger ………… “All that’s required is low”

          Protein consumption, fat consumption?

          Of course, it is not just diabetes risk that these diets affect. In Brazil, they placed mice on low carb high fat diets. The title of the journal article on the results of the trial sums it up very concisely …. “High saturated fat and low carbohydrate diet decreases lifespan independent of body weight in mice”

          “C57BL/6J mice were fed with a HF diet (60% kcal/fat) or control diets (15% kcal/fat) for 27 months. One-half of the mice on the HF diet developed obesity (diet-induced obese (DIO) mice), whereas the remaining mice were diet resistant (DR). At 8 months of age, both DIO and DR groups had increased hyperglycemic response during a glucose tolerance test, which was normalized in 16-month-old mice. At this latter time point, all groups presented similar performance in cognitive tests (Morris water maze and inhibitory avoidance). The survival curves of the HF and control diet groups started to diverge at 15 months of age and, after 27 months, the survival rate of mice in the DIO and DR groups was 40%, whereas in the control diet group it was 75%.”
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3922950/

          Australia, we have done mice experiments too:
          ‘The team put mice on 25 different diets, altering the proportions of protein, carbohydrates and fat. The mice were allowed to eat as much food as they wanted to more closely replicate the food choices humans make.
          “The healthiest diets were the ones that had the lowest protein, 5 to 10 to 15 per cent protein, the highest amount of carbohydrate, so 60, 70, 75 per cent carbohydrate, and a reasonably low fat content, so less than 20 per cent,” Professor Le Couteur said.
          “They were also the diets that had the highest energy content.
          “We found that diluting the diets to reduce the energy intake actually made the animals die more quickly.”
          The mice that ate a high-carbohydrate, low-protein diet lived about 50 per cent longer than those on the low-carb diet.”
          http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-05/low-carb-diet-may-shorten-your-life-study-finds/5299284
          http://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247(15)00505-7
          http://www.cell.com/cms/attachment/2032903762/2049230860/mmc2.pdf

          Low carbers automatically dismiss such findings though on the grounds that mice are not humans. Perhaps this is why the authors of another mouse study, this time in Scandianavia, commented:

          “Pair-fed mice eating LCHF increased their percentage of body fat at the expense of lean mass already after 2 weeks, and after 4 weeks the function of the heart deteriorated. These findings highlight the urgent need to investigate the effects of a LCHF diet on health parameters in humans.”
          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5111238/

          1. That last line “all that is required is low” is just an artifact of not being able to edit comments here, post Disqus. It was revised for the the prior para, but simply slipped below the edit window before I hit submit.

            But yes, there’s an extensive literature on negative effects of long chain saturated fats, excess protein, and fructose containing added sugars. The protein element came as a surprise to me, but the work on the hormone fibroblast growth factor 21 offers a plausible explanation.

    2. Hola Lida, Dr. Greger has touched on this in previous videos. A well planned keto diet can reverse diabetes. On the other hand a keto diet has also been correlated with a 4 year decrease in life span and an increase in heart disease risk. Considering that a whole food plant based diet can actually reverse heart disease (our number one killer), extend our lifespan, extend our healthspan, AND prevent, treat, or reverse several chronic diseases… the keto diet doesn’t hold a candle to WFPB eating I’m home.

    1. Carl,

      I watched Dr.-in-some-States Cousens do the raw program and getting people off of Diabetes meds. He had great success, but Dr. Barnard’s people also had no hunger and Dr. McDougall’s people also say they have no hunger and Dr. Furhman’s people also have no hunger.

      If people like the raw food, that is fine, but the group of people I watched, more than one just plain couldn’t stick with it because they hated the food.

      They might have gone back to a moderation of the SAD diet or just managing it with meds. I have friends who are doing that and raw is the one thing, which draws them away from WFPB mentally more than anything else and I think Macrobiotic kept me away. Hearing to eat seaweed and not eat nightshades, when nightshades were the only thing I would eat just made it impossible.

      I do know someone who has gone closer to that and I did okay on Gerson’s juices for a Summer, but it was hard to buy enough carrots for juicing every day. I would wipe out every grocery store near me.

  2. What about type 2 Diabetics who cannot have potassium rich foods (legumes, some veggies, nuts, etc…).

    This is my mom’s husband who has been told by his doctor he should be eating healthy lean meats and stay away from beans, veggies, nuts, etc… that are high in potassium. Is the doctor deceiving, or is there another answer?

      1. Thank you Marilyn, you are correct, his kidney is in bad shape.
        Because of that, can he not go on a plant based diet?
        I’m not sure his doctors can help him, it seems easier for them to keep him on traditional animal sourced diet.
        Very frustrating.

        1. Marie Roberts,

          I have walked my cousin through this and I find it very frustrating, too. I do believe they can go plant-based, but his doctors didn’t believe it and he didn’t do it, but there have been wildly successful diets like The Rice Diet, which show that it can be done.

          Dr. Greger has videos on the subject.

          https://nutritionfacts.org/video/treating-chronic-kidney-disease-with-food/
          https://nutritionfacts.org/video/preventing-kidney-failure-through-diet/
          https://nutritionfacts.org/video/treating-kidney-failure-through-diet/
          https://nutritionfacts.org/video/plant-protein-preferable/
          https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/rice-diet/

        2. I’m stating home Dialysis (PD). Been a vegan (WFPB) for 10 years but still type 1 (1 12) diabetes, but Dr says I probably slowed kidney failure a lot. But now, the Dialysis center Nutritionist doesn’t seem to know anything about vegan diets, and thinks lean meat is better for me than beans or tofu!

    1. Hello Marie,
      I am sorry to hear about your mom’s husband’s health concerns. The primary concern of the doctor is kidney function in this case as kidney damage can occur in diabetes. In this excerpt from the video on Chronic Kidney Disease, Dr. Greger discusses the potassium issue as it relates to kidney disease:

      “The two potential drawbacks are the amount of phosphorus and potassium in plant foods, which ailing kidneys can sometimes have a problem getting rid of, but it turns out that the phosphorus in meat is absorbed at about twice the rate, not to mention the phosphate additives that are injected into meat. So, eating vegetarian can significantly lower phosphorus levels in the blood. The concern about potassium is largely theoretical, since the alkalinizing effects of plants foods help the body excrete potassium, but not theoretically for those on dialysis or with end-stage disease, who need to be closely followed by a dietician kidney specialist.”

      If your mom’s husband is battling end stage kidney disease and is on dialysis, then he should absolutely limit potassium and phosphorus, but if not, then higher potassium foods are likely safe. However, if he must limit potassium, it is still possible to consume a plant-based diet with careful planning as is seen in the article linked below.

      I hope this information helps and wish you both well.

      Matt

      Chronic Kidney Disease Video: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/treating-chronic-kidney-disease-with-food/
      Article on Plant-Based Diets in Kidney Disease Management: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/dat.20594#sec1-3-title

  3. I have a question about a subject. Is it good to feast if you have diabete ?
    I was doing it for a month every year before i was diagnostic with diabete 3 years ago. Before i was eating meat now i m Vegan. I am on insuline and médication. When i was feasting my energy was at is max for the rest of the rest of the year. How can i pursute that ritual with out problem since my condition ?
    Ps..sorry about my english i m french

    1. Jean-martin,

      The word in English is “fast” and people do sometimes have good results with intermittent fasting. Not eating for at least 12 hours allows some of the stores of fats to be used.

      Blood sugar can go very low, which can be a danger for people on Insulin.

      The people ate low calorie on some days, which they called “fasting” rather than not eating at all.

            1. Le Dr Greger a déclaré que manger moins de calories peut aider, mais pour se passer de la nourriture, il faudrait que vous suiviez le processus avec votre médecin.

                1. Can you imagine what it is going to take to translate Dr Greger’s sense of humor into other languages? Or the science itself? Technical language, plus culturally-sensitive humor?

  4. As someone who reversed my diabetes with a vegan, natural foods, produce-heavy diet, I feel compelled to comment. (As a side effect, I also lost 35+ lbs., all my belly fat, and my high blood pressure).

    What was missing from my previous attempts at weight loss/health improvement was the failure to ditch the dairy, the artificial sweeteners, and the highly processed foods which fill the grocery stores.
    When people say eating this way is expensive, I laugh. Look at the cost of these diabetes meds, the testing supplies! The cost of all the fast and other highly processed “convenience” foods! Make things from scratch instead of boxes and cans, and you’ll be far more successful. And save a ton of money.

    Health motivated? Hell yes. When your neuropathy gets so bad that your feet and legs burn or tingle all the time, you have no energy and a big gut – and you’re only 52, well, that’s motivating.When your diabetic relatives die as double amputees before age 60, that’s motivating. So is a heart attack, high BP, high cholesterol. I wanted a future: And NOT a future of poor health and living on endless medications which cost a fortune and have dangerous/deadly side effects.

    To anyone who says a vegan diet is “radical”, I would say, look – open heart surgery, endless meds, amputation, disability and early death, THAT’S radical!

    Our physiologies are designed for a plant-based diet, and a healthy natural foods diet is the key to regaining and maintaining optimum health.I also know the current food production system is hideously cruel to other living beings, and I’m thrilled to no longer be supporting it with my dollars.

    I have maintained this regimen and my current great health for a few years. Not only is it easier than I ever imagined, my only regret is I didn’t do this many years ago. Instead I listened to my clueless docs, who did nothing but prescribe med after med, none of which did anything but make me poorer.

    I also have maintained a healthy activity level, cardio several times a week and strength training. I used to say I didn’t have time, but now I MAKE the time.

    Bottom line is, it’s not extreme to take responsibility for your health, and to choose to take every action you can to regain your health. Take control, and decide that you’re worth every effort you can make. It IS do-able, but don’t wait for your neighborhood GP or the msm to tell you that. They all benefit for the illness-as-profit model, and the msm isn’t going to “offend” their advertisers in the livestock and fast food industries.

    I’m impressed with the info on this site, and have shared it with others. If you are struggling with diabetes and other health problems, please know that you CAN do this! Get all the info you can (sites like this are a great resource), read books, and go for it. Learn a different way of shopping, eating, cooking, and reap the benefits. Experience what it’s like to feel really good in your own body again.

    1. Anna, well said, good for you! Too many people turn control of their health over to doctors. The doctor isn’t the one who bears the consequences of bad choices.
      As for the argument that healthy food is expensive, well, it is. 50 years ago the average family in the US spent about 25% of income on food. Now it’s about 1/2 that amount.
      Far more money goes to vacations, entertainment, bigger houses, cars etc. But what good is all that if you are sick?
      Also spending on drugs and health insurance has gone way up. See a trade off here?
      My grandmother taught me a simple fact, “you give your money to the grocer or the doctor”. She was a wise woman.

    2. Anna Van Zee,

      Yes, you are telling the truth and it is a reality.

      When I look at the people around me though, many of the ones with Diabetes don’t even take their meds or insulin, because of cost and don’t test their blood because of the cost of the testing strips and things like that.

      I have a dear, close friend whose son may die someday from that, but he doesn’t make money and did end up in the hospital and almost died a few times and has those medical bills on his credit rating, but he will never pay those bills.

      He tried to get on disability for a few years, but wasn’t able to and he just will be homeless someday and will probably die. He is impotent and has lost his ability to sense when he has to go to the bathroom and does have neuropathy, but he doesn’t probably care as much about living and dying as not being homeless again.

      My other friend went off her Diabetes meds and is still off a few years later. She is trying to manage it with diet, but she also chose to stay in housing rather than do medical. I don’t believe that she has gone to a doctor since she lost her career job, but homeless was more terrifying to her than dying.

      I have other friends who chose medical and went homeless for a few years. One of those is going through so many medical things right now that she is likely to become homeless again and she knows this time will be permanent because there is still a ten-year waiting list for low-income housing and her credit has been ruined for life and even low-income housing checks credit.

  5. I find it frustrating to read the diabetic advise repeatedly about how to reverse your diabetes ! It is almost always geared to people who are grossly overweight and inactive !
    It would be helpful to dedicate some advise and studies to active people of normal weight and BMI , who already try to eat as much as possible plant based diets . Thank you .Do enjoy reading the blogs etc.

    1. Petra

      What type of diabetes do you have?

      Sometimes people like you do not have type 2 diabetes, which is the focus of this blog post, but something called type 1.5 diabetes or LADA. This can be misdiagnosed as type 2 diabetes.

    2. Petra, you are right. About 20% of diabetics who are not strictly type 1, and not type 2’s, are not overweight, do not have metabolic syndrome. Their plight seems to be mostly ignored amid the advice to just lose weight.
      It’s beginning to be recognized that many of these people, due possibly to genetics, or viral damage just do not produce enough insulin. They are not insulin resistant, although whenever blood sugar levels are high, there is insulin resistance.
      So it’s important for them to keep blood sugar normal.
      A good book to read is ‘Diabetes 101’, author Jenny Ruhl.

  6. To change is to go against oneself. Whenever people say “I cannot do it because …”, what I hear is “I cannot do it because of myself”.

    1. Whenever we say ” I can’t” we need to go deeper to the real truth. Is it “I don’t want to give up my ice cream addiction” or ” I’m scared I won’t fit in with my social group anymore” or “I don’t have the confidence” etc. Be as specific and as honest (and loving) as you can with yourself .

      1. VegGuy,

        You are right.

        People don’t want to give up the food, which they are comforting themselves with.

        I ran into a mother at the Post Office yesterday and her daughter has MS and I told her about Dr. Swank’s study and the first thing she said is that people have told my daughter about results from gluten-free and she wasn’t willing to try it and I can’t control what she eats and that is the reality.

        I told her to not try to control what her daughter eats. Just find a few menu items, which you think she would like the taste of.

        If she can even find one recipe and replace one bad meal with one good meal that would be a start.

  7. Re: “…at least one big salad every day (like a pound of raw greens)”

    Is this a typo or did I misunderstand this? I am on a strictly plant-based diet. I eat a huge baby kale and romaine lettuce salad every day (in a large four cup snapware container), and I am pretty stuffed afterwards. However, it takes me an entire week to get through the huge 16 oz (1 pound) tub of organic baby kale and two organic romaine lettuce heads. I can’t imagine eating a full 16 oz tub of baby kale in just one salad every day.

    1. Michael,
      I am interested in knowing if you add anything to that salad of kale and romaine such as veggies, fruits, etc. do you also use any kind of dressing? Yes I do want to be healthy but can’t imagine eating just plain kale and romaine.

      1. Lida,

        Yes, my daily salad has the following: baby kale, romaine, grape tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, and bell pepper (all sliced and organic). For dressing, to avoid oils, I take two sliced and organic lemons and squeeze the lemon juice all over the salad. It’s delicious. There are also some healthy “no oil” dressings out there, but I choose not to use them. You can also add some organic nuts of your choosing to your salad.

          1. I like this kind of mixed salad with toasted walnuts and a pinch of salt added to the lemon. Sometimes I will blend or chop finely a ripe avocado and dress the greens with that in place of the oil I miss. Mmmm. Surprisingly delicious.

  8. Super interesting. I notice a lot of these studies and other works on your site often apply to Diabetes Type 2, which is the most common, and related almost primarily to diet. That said, I’m curious about effects on Type 1. I’ve seen it mentioned usually in passing along with Type 2, but would love a deeper dive into Type 1 studies specifically.

    asking for a friend… :)

    1. This diet won’t cure Type 1; unfortunately there is no cure–yet! However, just like eating whole food plant based reduces the amount of insulin Type 2 diabetics need, it will usually reduce the amount of insulin a Type 1 diabetic will need, which is a good thing. Also all those veggies, fruits, beans, nuts and other foods loaded with phytonutrients should help reduce inflammation in the body, and thus the development of complications. Most whole plant foods are low glycemic (except for some grains and fruits), meaning they absorb more slowly, so will have a more gradual impact on blood sugar instead of a huge spike and crash which is really difficult to manage with injected insulin.

      Here’s one young woman’s story, and the internet is loaded with others. http://www.diabetesdailygrind.com/type1vegandiet/#.W6FF0OhKiUk

      1. Agreed that it isn’t a cure.

        I did find some young people whose parents had worked very hard at managing their Type 1 Diabetes with diet, but that is rare.

        Dr. Cousens said that he had accomplished getting people off of insulin a few times, but very few people claim to and Tom said that he had lost his doctor’s license in a few states. Not sure what he did, but apparently I could Google it.

        1. You can’t take type 1 diabetics off insulin. They make little or none.
          Most of this advice on diet is for type 2’s who are mainly insulin resistant.
          Diabetes is a Very serious disease, especially type 1. No one has ever cured true type 1.
          Some type 1’s, if it is caught early, and their blood sugars kept down to avoid damaging the pancreas further, can retain some function.

          Can diet help them? Yes! Their disease is more easily controlled on a good diet. Wildly oscillating blood sugars cause more systemic damage than anything else. And type 1’s can become insulin resistant also when their sugars are too high. So they can then have both types.

          But this disease isn’t geared for a one size fits all approach. Patients need to understand that personal glucose testing is essential. People don’t react the same way to the same foods. Some, for example, go wildly high on tomatoes, for others tomatoes are fine.
          The only food I’ve found that hardly any can eat without getting postprandial sugars too high is bananas.
          Diabetics need one to one help at first to help them learn to handle their disease. You can’t just apply large studies, people are individuals who need personalized care.

          1. I know many of you are trying to be helpful to those of your loved ones with diabetes. But the studies show that the most important thing in this disease is keeping blood glucose low and stable.
            Normal is no higher than 92 fasting, no higher than 125 after a meal.
            Normal HgA1C is 4.6-5.4.
            And be aware that Dr. Bernard’s study didn’t bring the numbers down below an A1c of 7. Claiming that diet as a cure is just plain wrong.
            You can’t read the headlines, you have to look at the numbers!

            1. I thought I read in this piece that: “After about seven months, their average A1C dropped from a diabetic 8.2 down to a non-diabetic 5.8. The majority dropped down to normal, and this is after dropping most of their medications”. Was there a different study you are referring to?

              My A1C is now 5.1, as opposed to 8. So for me, that’s a cure. This is a valid, responsible claim, backed by numbers. Much more responsible than diabetes educators telling people that meat and dairy products are healthy for people with diabetes, for example. All I got with the meds was side effects and a lot poorer.

              This lifestyle can and does work, but many would rather not change what they eat and how they live. It’s easier to make excuses and claim, “oh that won’t work.”

              My diabetic relatives were blown away by my changes, but are unwilling to change what they eat. They are still diabetic, take a lot of meds, and are not doing well.

              “The End of Diabetes” by Joel Fuhrman, and “Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes” are very well documented and supported with research data to back up this approach.

              1. Anna, The study I was referring to was one by Dr. Barnard, which only resulted in lowering A1c to 7. But it was reported as a great success in reversing diabetes.
                The study Dr. Gregor cited getting the subjects down to 5.8 was done by Dunaief, Fuhrman et al.
                That one was very well done, and had excellent results. I have a lot of respect for Dr. Fuhrman who is ‘the real deal’.
                (5.8 is pre-diabetic -5.6-5.9 is pre-diabetic That’s why I fail to understand the ADA saying 7 is fine.)
                My goal with patients is to get them to truly normal numbers.
                Your 5.1 is absolutely fabulous!

          2. They could be lying, but there are people who have said it. Hard for me to find them again. I found some, but not the ones I was looking for.

            Tom, I know how you feel about Dr. Cousens, but this wasn’t what he got investigated about and California gave him his license back. I haven’t followed any of his work, except his Diabetes documentary and he said that he had gotten 2 Type 1 Diabetics off of Insulin. I think it was 2.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnksyBl4P9w

            I will try to find some of the others:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFKaiH3fqEM&t=295s

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUhGl04w9RE

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tRd5U-lxIM

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=904gvOB0e6E

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ebZUhZNLd4

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1L6ODmuVh-Y

          3. From one of the transcripts.

            “So, with zero weight loss, did a plant-based diet still help? Overall, insulin requirements were cut about 60%. And, half the diabetics were able to get off their insulin altogether—despite no change in weight. How many years did that take? No, 16 days…16 days later.

            So, we’re talking diabetics who’ve had diabetes as long as 20 years—injecting 20 units of insulin a day. And then, as few as 13 days later, they’re off all their insulin altogether—thanks to less than two weeks on a plant-based diet, even with zero weight loss.

            Diabetes for 20 years, then off all insulin in less than two weeks.”

            1. There is a reversing Diabetes video on this site and in that study, the majority of the people got down to a normal A1C very quickly. A month or something of eating Plant-Based and it was A1c they measured.

              I tried to post the link to that, but it seems to have disappeared so I will just mention it. See Dr. Greger’s topics.

              1. That one was after 7 years of being Diabetic.

                The whole point was that they eat low enough saturated fat and get rid of refined carbs and the Pancreas unblocks and works properly.

                1. I officially don’t remember whose study is whose anymore.

                  Here is another study results:

                  “One study found that 21 of 23 patients on oral medications and 13 of 17 patients on insulin were able to get off of their medications after 26 days on a near-vegetarian diet and exercise program.2 During two- and three-year follow-ups, most people with diabetes treated with this regimen have retained their gains.3 The dietary changes are simple, but profound, and they work.”

                  Is this the one worded differently? Not sure.

                2. Deb

                  I’d like to see the studies rather than watch some YouTube video by a doctor who lost his licence to practice in several states because of various problems including one patient death.

                  There is I believe some evidence that a WFPB diet can ffectively manage T1D and that some Type i diabetics produce some insulin. So it’s possible that some could get off insulin but this would need to be managed uder a good diabetologist I’d suggest. Self management based on YouTube videos is potentially very dangerous.

                  That iad, there is intriguing evidence from animal studies that a high fibre diet in childhood can significantly reduce the tisk of T1D
                  ‘For the latest study, the scientists monitored the health of mice that were bred to develop the rodent equivalent of type 1 diabetes. On a normal diet, more than 70% of the animals had developed the condition after 30 weeks. But another group that received the high fibre diet was nearly entirely protected from the condition.

                  “What we saw was dramatic,” Mackay said. “When we give the diet to mice that spontaneously develop type 1 diabetes, we could almost completely eliminate their disease.”

                  This may explain why Type 1 diabetes prevalence is increasing globally – since populations around the world are often transitioning (or have transitioned) to diets that are high in animal foods and processed foods, both of which have no fibre or very little fibre.

                  1. Tom,

                    That is a cool study about T1D.

                    I am going to agree with you that I would rather read studies, too.

                    I think that I am pragmatic about things though because I don’t stumble over the studies, even after 2 years of searching left and right and back and forth I didn’t see the study you just mentioned and I wouldn’t have heard that sometimes that people who are T1D turn out to have Beta Cells and didn’t know it until they went low-fat vegan for long enough.

                    Searching day and night and middle of the night, I haven’t found things, which are so important and I don’t know what I haven’t found unless I click on the links.

                    Yes, I am going to say that his video on Diabetes, which I watched before ever hearing about WFPB, I was wondering if he was a con-artist or some sort of artist. I lived in California enough years to have stumbled over some pretty flaky things out there and I will just nicely say that they sometimes do things in different ways.

                    But he was the very first video which showed me people getting off insulin and the people hadn’t lost weight. It wasn’t a phony video. He showed their numbers and showed their mental struggles. A few of them dropped out because they couldn’t handle the food. One snuck out and went to Mexico to have alcohol during the study.

                    Anyway, I agree with you that I prefer the studies, but when I watched him in that video, he was knowledgeable about how to get Diabetics off of insulin.

                    I get that he got in trouble for overprescribing bovine something or another and I already can’t remember what it was except that the word bovine sticks with me.

                    That was a costly mistake and I am not sure how unwise it was to do the whole bovine process.

                    I just do tend to want to respect him enough to listen, because he was showing me scans and numbers.

                    By the end, the California board said that he hadn’t done anything wrong in his treatment of that person and gave him his license back.

                    Anyway, I feel like I learn things from his videos and I will take your thoughts into account and research the heck out of every sentence he says rather than just believing it.

                    1. Deb

                      The California Board did not say that he had done nothing wrong.

                      They said that he had served his ‘sentence’ (3 years suspension I think), expressed remorse for his actions and promised never to do it again. So they gave him his licence back.

    1. YR, Thanks for posting this. Found it interesting that the groups with the highest percentage of type 1’s had lower rates of 2’s and vice-versa.
      Different genetics. The medical profession, in spite of all the data available on SNP’s, has yet to take that info into account for either diagnosis or treatment.

  9. “Aren’t humans amazing? They kill wildlife – birds, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice and foxes by the million in order to protect their domestic animals and their feed. Then they kill domestic animals by the billion and eat them. This in turn kills people by the million, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative – and fatal – health conditions like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and cancer. So then humans spend billions of dollars torturing and killing millions more animals to look for cures for these diseases. Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals. Meanwhile, few people recognize the absurdity of humans, who kill so easily and violently, and once a year send out cards praying for “Peace on Earth.”~ David Coates

      1. I agree!

        Powerful concept.

        It goes with the comedian who talked about humans and cows.

        We eat them, we eat their children, then, we drink the milk, which would have fed their children, then, we put the faces of our lost children on the milk bottles of that milk which would have fed their children, if we hadn’t eaten them.

  10. Plant based eating is gaining in popularity, among educated young people (especially women.) The problem is the average American—not sure what that is—is bombarded with ads with a double-cheese burger with bacon and dripping with sauce. If presented with a picture of what is good to eat (again subjective) that average American will take a Big Mac over a salad. Plus we have a movement in the USA about not “fat shaming” people who are OBESE. I live outside of the US and when I see news on TV the American people sure are fat, no let’s be PC, overweight challenged. BTW I am a vegan.

  11. You never mention our chemical laden food as a contributing factor in many health issues. There is sufficient evidence that eating organic food will cure many of these problems. Of course organic food is mostly whole food. Glyphosate is one of the main contributors to health issues but they are coming out with stronger chemicals every year. The increased amount of Glyphosate used each year over the last 20 years is strongly paralleled by the increase of many health issues over that same time period.

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