Diabetes is an incurable disease that affects the body’s ability to convert food into energy. According to the National Diabetes Statistics Report, over 37.3 million or 11.3% of Americans suffer from this illness — that’s nearly 1 in 10 people.
While there is no cure for the disease, self-management and a healthy lifestyle are the two crucial ways in which the condition can be improved. This is important to prevent serious problems such as vision impairment, kidney disease, and heart problems.
A crucial aspect of managing diabetes involves a healthy diet, with significant research showing that a plant-based diet or a vegan diet offers various benefits for those dealing with diabetes. Let’s see how a vegan diet can help prevent and treat this condition.
Vegan Diet and Diabetes
A vegan diet is a plant-based diet that eliminates all animal meat, dairy, and other animal-based products. It is a highly nutritious diet, but it does require some planning to ensure that all the body’s requirements are met.
While it may seem difficult to follow, people with diabetes often benefit from the restrictive nature of the vegan diet as it also enables them to plan their meals better.
Vegan diets are well-balanced in terms of carbs, fat, and protein, which can make meal planning easier for people with diabetes. Additionally, plant-based foods also tend to be rich in fiber, which can help control blood sugar.
Benefits Of A Vegan Diet
A vegan diet is advantageous for several reasons and can be beneficial to everyone, especially those with diabetes.
Here are the three main ways in which a vegan diet can benefit diabetics.
1. Increased Insulin Sensitivity
Insulin helps the body maintain its glucose levels in a normal, healthy range. Type 2 diabetes causes insulin resistance, which reduces the cell response to insulin and causes abnormalities in the blood sugar composition.
A plant-based diet can promote insulin sensitivity, reducing the number of insulin injections required.
2. Weight Management
Managing weight is an important step for ensuring that your diabetes doesn’t get worse, and a plant-based diet can assist with that.
Studies suggest that a vegan diet can promote weight loss, thus helping maintain good health despite diabetes. This is because losing weight is often associated with improved insulin sensitivity, and a vegan diet typically involves lower amounts of calories and fats compared to an omnivorous diet.
3. Managing Blood Sugar
When compared to other conventional diets meant for diabetes, researchers found that a vegan diet helped to regulate blood sugar levels far better.
A vegan diet was also found to reduce the hemoglobin A1C by 0.8%, which is an indicator of long-term sugar management.
Vegan and other plant-based diets are thus proven to help regulate the blood sugar levels in diabetic individuals.
Drawbacks Of A Vegan Diets
Despite its numerous health benefits, a vegan diet does have its share of downfalls that must be addressed when planning meals.
Some of these include:
A vegan diet can be extremely beneficial for managing diabetes. However, like all diets, this diet also has certain drawbacks that can cause potential problems. The key is to ensure that your diet is well-balanced.
If you have diabetes, some important steps to ensure that a vegan diet will be beneficial are planning meals in advance, eating a balanced meal, and supplementing nutrients that you lack. And no matter how well your diet is going, monitoring your blood sugar levels regularly is crucial to maintaining good health.