A vegetarian diet probably won’t cure your diabetes. But it may offer some benefits over a nonvegetarian diet. For example, it may help to better control your weight, reduce your risk of some diabetes-associated complications and make your body more responsive to insulin.
There’s no single vegetarian eating plan. For example, some allow dairy products or eggs, while others don’t allow any animal products (vegan). The benefits of a vegetarian diet depend on the type of diet you choose and the food choices you make when following the diet. For most, however, eating a vegetarian diet
A Vegan Diet Guide for Diabetes
A healthy diet plays a key role in the management of diabetes.
If you have this condition, you may wonder whether a vegan diet can help you better manage it. Alternatively, perhaps you follow a vegan diet and have recently been diagnosed with diabetes.
If you’re interested in pursuing or continuing a vegan diet and you have diabetes, it’s essential to understand how to meal plan, shop, and self-monitor to be successful.
Although a vegan diet isn’t the only diet that can help manage diabetes, it is possible to manage the condition while following a vegan diet.
This article provides a guide to the vegan diet for diabetes, its benefits and downsides, and how to succeed on the diet, along with a 3-day sample meal plan.
How the vegan diet for diabetes works
The vegan diet is completely free of meat, dairy, and animal-based products. Although it can be a nutritious way of eating, it requires careful planning to make sure you’re meeting all of your nutritional needs.
For people with diabetes, following a vegan diet will require an extra layer of planning.
In general, people with diabetes need to keep their carb intake consistent throughout the day, as carbs affect blood sugar levels more significantly than protein and fat.
Meals and snacks should also be balanced with carbs, protein, and healthy fat since including noncarb foods in your meal can help reduce the carbs’ effects on your blood sugar.
All of this can be done using exclusively plant-based foods, although it may be a bit challenging if you’re new to the vegan diet.
Here are some examples of carbs, proteins, and fats that you can use to build meals and snacks if you’re following a vegan diet for diabetes:
- Carbs: whole grain flour (bread, pasta), rice, potatoes, oats, grits, quinoa, fruit (fresh, frozen, or unsweetened canned), corn
- Proteins: soybeans and soybean products (tofu, tempeh), beans, lentils, peas, peanuts, tree nuts, nut butters, seeds, plant-based meat alternatives
- Fats: olive oil, avocado oil, avocado, nuts and seeds, coconut, plant-based spreads
Fortunately, many plant-based foods, such as beans and grains, contain a mixture of carbs, protein, and fat, so they can pull double or triple duty in your meal planning.
Additionally, fiber — a type of indigestible carb — is found in most plant-based foods. Fiber helps make these foods more filling and may also help reduce their blood sugar impact
Based on the type of diabetes you have, your physical activity level, age, sex, and several other factors, your healthcare team — including a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) — can help you pinpoint the optimal amount of carbs you need with each meal.