Is a Vegetarian Diet Better for Diabetes?
Research suggests that well planned, vegetarian diets that are rich in whole grains, fiber, legumes, nuts, and unsaturated fats can help improve blood sugar and may even prevent diabetes. Here, a registered dietitian and type 1 tells you what you need to know.
Vegetarian diets are becoming more mainstream. The words meatless Monday, vegan and plant based are the new buzzwords in today’s nutrition frenzy. But you might be skeptical to try a vegetarian diet if you have diabetes fearing you will consume too many carbohydrates and no animal protein to stabilize your blood sugars.
Eggs, cheese, meat, fish and other protein sources have long been considered “safe” for people with diabetes because they don’t raise blood sugars as do carbohydrates found in grains, fruits, and legumes—all cornerstones of the vegetarian diet. But it turns out, following a meatless Monday or vegetarian approach may be beneficial to your waistline as well as your diabetes control.
New research points to the protective effects a plant-based diet can have on people at risk of developing diabetes or with existing diabetes. Vegetarians and vegans tend to live longer and have a lower risk of developing diabetes as well as other chronic conditions like heart disease, hypertension, certain types of cancers and obesity.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recent position paper, a well-planned vegetarian diet that is rich in whole grains, nuts, and soy, seeds, fruits, and veggies can be nutritionally adequate and suitable for all life stages. The key word here is well-planned. Vegetari Continue reading