How to Prevent Diabetes

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

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That’s about what an interventional study found last year: put overweight meat-eaters 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, at the end of the study; 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 vegans, it’s no surprise that they have just a fraction of the diabetes risk. But the researchers did find something that 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 just has something that cuts our risk in half. So even obese 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.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to cogdogblog via Flickr.

That’s about what an interventional study found last year: put overweight meat-eaters 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, at the end of the study; 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 vegans, it’s no surprise that they have just a fraction of the diabetes risk. But the researchers did find something that 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 just has something that cuts our risk in half. So even obese 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.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to cogdogblog via Flickr.

14 responses to “How to Prevent Diabetes

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  1. 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?




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    1. 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!




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  2. 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?




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    1. 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/




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  3. 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!!




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  4. 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?




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    1. 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/




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  5. Dr. Michael, I saw one of your videos where you said that a plant-based diet is not a vegetarina diet as they eat everything or something like that, so I came to this webpage in order to find plant-based diets but… I am not find them…. can you pls inform me where to find it, speccially to prevent diabetes and brest/colon/rectal cancer…. Waiting your reply.




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    1. Rob Rob: Here’s what Dr. Greger meant when he said that a vegetarian diet is not plant-based: a vegetarian diet typically includes dairy and eggs. Dairy and eggs are animal products. So, that is not what we call a plant-based diet. A plant-based diet consists only (or a vast, vast majority) of plants. And a healthy plant-based diet will consist primarily of whole foods, not processed foods like oils, sugars, flours, etc.

      The following is a page where you can read Dr. Greger’s overall nutrition recomendations for a plant-based diet. This is a diet that will dramatically lower the risk of getting the diseases you listed.
      http://nutritionfacts.org/2011/09/12/dr-gregers-2011-optimum-nutrition-recommendations/

      I also recommend that you watch lots of videos on this site. By doing so, you can learn other ways to tweak your diet to be especially powerful when it comes to disease prevention.

      If you would like some more guidance on how to eat a healthy plant-based diet, here are some resources:
      * The PCRM Power Plate: http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/pplate/power-plate
      * The PCRM 21 Day Kickstart program (free and comes with lots of help, including recipes)
      * Some cookbooks to check out: books in the “Happy Herbivore” series, the Starch Solution (recipes in the back), Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes (recipes in the back), Eat Vegan on $4 a day, and a new one that is coming out (I haven’t seen this one myself yet):
      http://www.amazon.com/Prevent-Reverse-Heart-Disease-Cookbook/dp/1583335587/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1411669708&sr=8-1&keywords=prevent+and+reverse+heart+disease+cookbook

      That should get you started. Hope that helps!

      Hope that helps.




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  6. Dr Greger, thank you for sharing such great info. I am very interested in type 1 diabetes, but I can’t find much about it on your website. Would you be kind enough to point me to any relevant info? I’d be grateful.




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