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Use vegan diet to reverse diabetes

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By David Liu, PHD

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine recommends a vegan diet for diabetes patients and claims that the disease can be reversed by following a plant-based diet.

The following are the advice from the organization.

1) Diabetes patients should use a vegan diet that comes without red meat, poultry, fish, dairy products and eggs.  That is, get rid of animal protein and fat from your diet.  Meat contains saturated fat, which is associated with heart disease, insulin resistance and some types of cancer.  Meat is also high in protein which can promote kidney problems and calcium losses. Meat contains cholesterol.  Meat does not have healthful carbohydrates, fiber and other vital nutrients such as antioxidative phytochemicals.

2) People with diabetes should avoid added vegetables oils and other high fat foods in their diet.  Saturated fat and trans fat have been associated with increased risk of diabetes. Vegetable oils are healthier than animal fat, but still have a negative impact if you eat too much fat, regardless of its origin.  Foods that should be avoided include foods fried in oil, oily toppings, and olives, avocados and peanut butter.

3) Diabetics should use a diet with low glycemic index.  A food with a higher glycemic index can release blood sugar faster, which can worsen the disease.  High GI foods that should be avoided include white or wheat bread, most cold cereals, watermelon,  pineapple, potatoes, sugar and any sugar added foods and beverages.

4) People with diabetes should use high fiber foods. The goal is to use 40 grams of fiber per day.  High fiber foods include beans, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains including barley, oats, quinoa, millet and whole wheat pasta.

5) Diabetes people should use foods with less calories.  It is advised that they use soups, salads and foods cooked in water as part of their diet.  These foods make them feel full, but they do not contain much calories.

6) Diabetes people are encouraged to use as much as of grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables.  It is okay that they eat small amounts of non-fat condiments, fat-free vegan cookies and crackers, alcohol and coffee.

7) Diabetes people should avoid using too much protein.  Intake of too much protein can do more harm than good.  It is believed that for most people, it is sufficient to eat a diet with 10% or 11% calories from protein.  Americans on average eat more than 16% of total calories from protein.  Those who need more protein may choose to eat more beans, asparagus, mushrooms and broccoli.

8) Diabetes people as well as healthy people should eat calcium rich foods such as broccoli, kale, collards, mustard greens, beans, figs, fortified juices and cereals and soy or rice milks.  (The writer does not recommend using soy milk as it has been reported that soy milk can contain high levels of aluminum).

9) Vegan diet followers should take vitamin B12 supplements.  Most vitamin B12 supplements are not easily absorbed, but it is recommended that 5 micrograms per day should be taken.  Vitamin B12 is the only nutrient that vegans miss.