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Vegan diet found to markedly improve health of diabetes patients

Thursday, July 27, 2006 by: NewsTarget
Tags: veganism, vegan diets, nutritional therapy

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(NewsTarget) In a study published in the journal Diabetes Care, researchers found that a vegan diet may be better for type 2 diabetics than other diets, even the ones recommended by the American Diabetes Association.

Researchers from George Washington University tested a vegan diet and the ADA-recommended diet to see which worked best in the management of diabetes, kidney function, cholesterol levels and weight loss. Around 100 adults diagnosed with type 2 diabetes participated, with half following a low-fat vegan diet and half following the ADA-recommended guidelines. Overweight ADA dieters were also advised to reduce their calorie intake by 500-1,000 calories. According to experts, one small risk associated with a vegan diet is a lack of vitamin B12, so the vegan participants' meals were supplemented with B12 vitamins.

Forty-three percent of the people who followed the vegan diet for 22 weeks reduced their dependence on diabetes management drugs, whereas only 26 percent of the ADA dieters had the same results. The vegan dieters also lost an average of 14 pounds compared to an average of 7 pounds in the ADA diet group.

"The (vegan) diet appears remarkably effective, and all the side effects are good ones -- especially weight loss and lower cholesterol," said Dr. Neal D. Barnard, adjunct associate professor of medicine at the George Washington University and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. "I hope this study will rekindle interest in using diet changes first, rather than prescription drugs."

"These results are not at all surprising," added consumer health advocate Mike Adams, who supports vegan and vegetarian diets. "Food choice has been clearly shown to actually reverse type 2 diabetes, and any shift to a healthier, plant-based diet will not only improve blood sugar management, it will also enhance cardiovascular health, nervous system health and cancer prevention, among other benefits."

Adams, a former borderline diabetic, consumes no dairy products or red meat. His health statistics, posted at HealthRanger.org, demonstrate outstanding health markers such as total cholesterol of 129, with LDL cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) of only 67.

According to the researchers, a vegan diet may be easier for diabetics to follow because there are no limits on portions, calories or carbohydrates, but diabetes patients should discuss options with their doctors before making dietary changes.


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