Vegan Diet Aids Weight Loss in People With Diabetes –

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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

Vegan diets are high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and seeds and have no animal-derived foods.The meta-analysis of 11 studies published through March 2022 that included a total of nearly 800 people found that following a vegan diet for at least 12 weeks helped people lose weight and lower their blood sugar, more so than a Mediterranean diet, different diabetes diets or portion-controlled diets did.Compared with the other diets, vegan diets significantly reduced weight (an average of 9 pounds) and body mass index or BMI (a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters, or kg/m2) by -1.38 kg/m2.The researchers found even greater reductions in body weight and BMI when they compared vegan diets to a normal diet (16.3 pounds and -2.78 kg/m2, respectively) than when comparing other diets to a normal diet (6 pounds and -0.87 kg/m2).
Vegan diets also led to slight improvements in blood sugar levels, total cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol, but had little effect on blood pressure or triglycerides compared to other diets, according to the study presented at the European Congress on Obesity, May 4-7, in the Netherlands.“This rigorous assessment of the best available evidence to date indicates with reasonable certainty that adhering to a vegan diet for at least 12 weeks may result in clinically meaningful weight loss and improve blood sugar levels, and therefore can be used in the management of overweight and type 2 diabetes,” said study author Anne-Ditte Termannsen, from the Steno Diabetes Center in Copenhagen, Denmark.“Vegan diets likely lead to weight loss because they are associated with a reduced calorie intake due to a lower content of fat and higher content of dietary fiber,” she added in a meeting news release. “However, more evidence is needed regarding other cardiometabolic outcomes.”

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.

fresh salad with onions and blood orange

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.

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