Following a vegan lifestyle benefits diabetic people who want to improve both their health and mood
02/04/2019 // Michelle Simmons // Views

Vegan and vegetarian diets have been making the rounds in the mainstream food industry. A review suggests that people with diabetes may benefit from adhering to a vegan or vegetarian diet. The review, published in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care, reports that following a plant-based diet may help improve both their physical and mental health.

People with diabetes who are not able to manage their condition well are at a greater risk for diabetes complications, such as heart disease and nerve damage. However, they do not only deal with physical complications. Their mental health is also affected. People with diabetes are two to three times more likely to have depression compared to their healthy peers.

One of the primary factors in managing diabetes is diet. For the review, the researchers gathered data on 433 participants in 11 different clinical trials. Eight of these trials involved fully vegan diets, while the remaining trials involved vegetarian diets. The trials lasted for an average period of 23 weeks. However, only four studies tracked the psychological health of the participants.

Based on the evidence they gathered, there was an association between the mental health of people with diabetes and physical health. Researchers found that people with diabetes who adhered to a plant-based diet were more likely to experience a dramatic improvement in their emotional well-being. The researchers believe that this is because a plant-based diet helped them to have better control of their diabetes.

"We would say that people with type 2 diabetes following a plant-based diet might be happier because, as the studies suggest, the majority found that through this eating pattern they can have a better control of their condition," said study lead author Anastasios Toumpanakis, a doctoral candidate at the University of London in England.

The studies showed that diabetic people experienced improved psychological well-being; their depression levels declined, while their overall quality of life improved.

Moreover, people with diabetes experienced a significant improvement in their diabetes-related nerve pain, suggesting that following a plant-based diet may slow progressive nerve damage associated with diabetes. Additionally, following a plant-based diet also reduced their intake or caused them to discontinue the drugs they were taking for diabetes and symptoms of diabetes, according to the findings from six studies.

The authors concluded that following a plant-based diet can help people with diabetes to better control their sugar levels, improve their lipid and cholesterol levels, and even improve their depression levels.

What more can they offer?

By following a plant-based diet, you are increasing your consumption of plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, while reducing or eliminating animal-based foods like meat and dairy. Plant-based diets are popular for a reason: They simply provide many health benefits, including:

  • Keeping your heart healthy: Studies have shown that eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can lower your blood pressure, which, in turn, protects the heart from diseases. (Related: Plant-based diet prevents and fights chronic diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, and coronary heart disease.)
  • Helping to maintain a healthy weight: Research has reported that plant-based diets can help you lose weight and keep you feeling full because of fiber.
  • Prolonging life: Researchers have found an association between vegetarian diets and a lower risk of death. This could be attributed to the high dietary intake of polyphenols.

Read more news stories and studies on treating diabetes and its complications naturally by going to

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