Trying Vegan Diets with Diabetes

Vegan diets are devoid of animal products, so they are low in saturated fat and absent of cholesterol, giving them an excellent cardiac profile.

One size doesn’t fit all; not for clothes and not for diet either.   If a moderate carbohydrate omnivore diet using carbohydrate counting doesn’t float your boat, there is evidence that a well-balanced vegan diet can achieve the same glycemic goals for people with type 2 diabetes without the need for strict emphasis on carbohydrate portions.

Vegan diets (a type of vegetarian diet that omits all animal products) are, when planned correctly, a healthy alternative to animal-based diets.  Although they tend to be much higher in carbohydrate than the meal plans of their omnivorous cousins, they can be a good choice for those with type 2 diabetes trying to control their glucose level.

Research has shown that following a vegan diet is as good as or better than a conventional “diabetes diet” for improving both glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors.  One reason for their success may be due to their very high fiber content.  People following well-balanced vegan diets consume large amount of fruits, vegetables and whole grains compared to meat eating brethren.   Research has found that very high levels of fiber can help control blood glucose excursions.

Because the diet is devoid of animal products, it is very low in saturated fat and absent of cholesterol, which gives it an excellent cardiac profile.

Many people lose weight once they start a vegan diet because of the high roughage content of many of the food choices.  Fruits and vegetables which form the backbone of the diet are generally low in calories and high in fiber.  They satiate without adding excess calories.

Vegan diets are not for everyone, however.  They can be difficult to maintain in our society.  Although restaurants catering to vegan clientele are available in larger cities on the east and west coasts, they are not easily accessible in smaller, less urban venues.

They also require planning to be nutritionally adequate.  Vitamin B12, calcium, and vitamin D can be deficient if the diet is properly planned.  B12 is only available in animal products and therefore needs to be consumed through supplements or B12-containing yeast products.

And it is quite possible to eat a vegan diet and have your blood glucose numbers remain in poor control.   Dinners of white pasta with tomato sauce, accompanied by crystalline sugar candy are vegan yet they do not meet the definition of a healthy meal.

Check out this sample meal plan for a well-balanced vegan diet/

Have you tried a vegan diet?  Has it worked out for you?


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