Millan, a member of the NutritionFacts.org community, told me her story recently. When she was 30, she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Having struggled with obesity all her life, she had tried nearly every fad diet but, not surprisingly, would quickly gain back whatever she’d lost. Millan’s parents, brothers, and aunt were all diabetic, so she figured her own diagnosis was inevitable. She thought there was nothing she could do.
Her initial diagnosis was in 1970, and she lived as a diabetic for two decades. Then, in the 1990s, she switched to an entirely plant-based diet. Today, her energy levels are better than ever, she looks and feels younger, and she’s finally been able to maintain a healthy weight.
Millan didn’t find some wonder drug or trademarked diet. She simply decided to eat healthier food.
Type 2 diabetes has been referred to as the 21st century’s Black Death in terms of its exponential spread around the world and devastating health impacts. Instead of the bubonic plague, though, its pathological agents may be high-fat and high-calorie diets.
Type 2 diabetes, however, is almost always preventable, often treatable, and sometimes even reversible through diet and lifestyle changes. Like other leading killers—especially heart disease and high blood pressure—type 2 diabetes may be an unfortunate consequence of dietary choices. There is hope, though, even if you already have diabetes. Through lifestyle changes, you may be able to achieve a complete remission of type 2 diabetes, even if you’ve been suffering with the disease for decades.
People who eat a plant-based diet have been found to have just a small fraction of the diabetes rate seen in those who regularly eat meat. As diets become increasingly plant-based, there appears to be a stepwise drop in diabetes rates. Based on a study of 89,000 Californians, flexitarians (who eat meat maybe once weekly rather than daily) appear to cut their rate of diabetes by 28 percent, and those who cut out all meat except fish appear to cut their rates in half. What about those eliminating all meat, including fish? They appear to eliminate 61 percent of their risk. And those who go a step farther and drop eggs and dairy, too? They may drop their diabetes rates 78 percent compared with people who eat meat on a daily basis.
Image Credit: Jill Brown / Flickr. This image has been modified.
Popular Videos for Diabetes
All Videos for Diabetes
Does a Ketogenic Diet Help Diabetes or Make It Worse?
Keto diets put to the test for diabetes reversal.
Plant-Based Diets Recognized by Diabetes Associations
Plant-based diets as the single most important, yet underutilized, opportunity to reverse the pending obesity and diabetes-induced epidemic of disease and death.
Berries for Inflammation & Osteoarthritis Treatment
Double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials on berries and the first clinical study on the effects of berries on arthritis.
The Best Diet for Diabetes
The case for using a plant-based diet to reduce the burden of diabetes has never been stronger.
Do the Health Benefits of Coffee Apply to Everyone?
Genetic differences in caffeine metabolism may explain the Jekyll and Hyde effects of coffee.
Blueberries for a Diabetic Diet & DNA Repair
Blueberries are put to the test against insulin resistance, oxidation, and DNA damage.
Is Ginger Beneficial in a Diabetic Diet?
Ground ginger and ginger tea are put to the test for blood sugar control.
Which Coffee Is Healthier: Light vs. Dark Roast?
Dark roast coffee is more effective than light roast coffee in reducing body weight.
Is Cheese Healthy? Compared to What?
Dairy is compared to other foods for cardiovascular (heart attack and stroke) risk.
Best Brain Foods: Greens & Beets Put to the Test
Cocoa and nitrite-rich vegetables, such as green leafies and beets, are put to the test for cognitive function.
Benefits of a Macrobiotic Diet for Diabetes
What happens when you add massive amounts of carbs to the daily diet of type 2 diabetics in the form of whole grains?
Pros & Cons of a Macrobiotic Diet
What happens when you put diabetics on a diet composed of largely whole grains, vegetables, and beans?