In Search of a Better Diet: A Veggie Quest: Reports surfaced as early as mid 2006 that a vegan diet may contribute to a more effective treatment plan for patients with diabetes.
According to WebMD.com researchers indicate there is 17% better disease management using a low-fat vegan diet when compared to a control group that followed the American Diabetes Association diet management plan.
Reasearchers at that time noted vegan diet benefits that included weight los and lower cholesterol levels. The intent of the study was to see if such a diet could reduce or in some cases eliminate the need for diebetic drugs.
One of the findings of the study indicated an average weight loss that was slightly more than double that of participants in the ADA diet plan. In the 22-week study vegan participants lost an average of 14 pounds.
Nearly half of all vegan participants were also able to reduce their total pharmaceutical intake. This compared with about one-forth of the ADA diet participants.
There is no question that both study groups showed improvement by utilizing a diet specifically targeted to those with type 2 diabetes, however, the vegan diet showed the most overall promise as a means of reducing the need for drugs to manage the disease.
In the fall of 2008 WebMD.com issued a new report indicating a vegan diet for diabetics also contributes to less difficulties associated with cardiovascular disease. The indication seems to be that a vegan diet can help reduce the incidence of heart attacks and strokes among those who live with diabetes.
While veganism is typically thought of as a lifestyle choice those who have diabetes may choose to utilize a vegetable-based diet as a health care choice and not because of a dislike for meat or animal derived products.
Researchers do caution that those who are diabetic may require an extra boost of calcium along with vitamins D and E. The truth is neither the ADA nor the vegan diet did an adequate job of providing recommended quantities of these vitamins. A physician should be consulted to determine the needed supplemental intake for each individual.
These findings are especially important to those who want to manage their health as drug-free as possible.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine even suggest that under certain conditions it may be possible to reverse the effects of diabetes using a well defined vegan diet. As with all parties they curb their excitement by indicating more research is needed.
It is believed that part of the success of a vegan diet is in the fact that it should contain only unrefined fruit and vegetables that will be high in fiber and low in fat. This diet will see zero cholesterol, 80% complex carbohydrates and 10% total fat content.
One element that seemed to contribute to the success of the diet was when family members voluntarily adopted the same diet in support of their loved one who had type 2 diabetes.
It is also interesting to note that other health issues seemed to abate for those who were on a vegan diet. For instance some who suffered from asthma found symptoms decreased the longer they were on the diet.
As of this writing there have been no recommended changes in the ADA dietary guidelines, but continuing research would seem to indicate that apart from the ADA diet there may be another plan that may also serve diabetics well in their long-term health management plans.