Diabetes and a plant-based diet. What does science say?

Doctor Michael Greger states that it is rare to find evidence that eating meat leads to diabetes. But a Harvard study of almost 300 people aged 25 to 75 found that just one serving of meat products a day (only 50 grams of processed meat) was associated with a 51% increase in diabetes. This proves the undeniable link between nutrition and diabetes.

Doctor Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health and author of the aforementioned study, said Americans need to cut back on red meat. People who eat large amounts of red meat tend to gain weight, so obesity and type 2 diabetes are intertwined.

“But even after adjusting for body mass index (BMI),” said Dr. Frank Hu, “we still saw an increased risk, which means that the maximum risk goes beyond being associated with obesity.” 

According to him, the incidence of diabetes is growing very rapidly, and the consumption of red meat, including processed and unprocessed, is very high. “To prevent diabetes and other chronic diseases, it is necessary to switch from a meat-based diet to a plant-based diet,” he said.

Why does red meat affect our body so much?

The authors of the above study proposed several theories. For example, processed meats are high in sodium and chemical preservatives such as nitrates, which can damage pancreatic cells involved in insulin production. In addition, red meat is high in iron, which when consumed in high amounts can increase oxidative stress and lead to chronic inflammation, which also negatively impacts insulin production.

M.D Neil D. Barnard, founder and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), nutrition and diabetes specialist says there is a common misconception about the cause of diabetes, and carbohydrates have never been and never will be the cause of this debilitating disease. The reason is the diet that increases the amount of fat in the blood, which we get from eating fats of animal origin.

It turns out that if you look at the muscle cells of the human body, you can see how they accumulate tiny particles of fat (lipids) that cause insulin dependence. This means that glucose, which comes naturally from food, cannot penetrate the cells that need it so much. And the accumulation of glucose in the bloodstream leads to serious problems. 

Garth Davis, M.D. and one of the top bariatric surgeons, agrees with Dr. Neil D. Barnard: “A large study of 500 people with diabetes from carbohydrate intake. In other words, the more carbohydrates we eat, the lower the risk of diabetes. But meat is very much linked to diabetes.”   

I understand your surprise. Starches are carbohydrates, and they are very useful for humans. By themselves, carbohydrates cannot harm health and be the cause of the same obesity. Animal fats have a completely different effect on human health, especially in the cause of diabetes. In muscle tissue, as well as in the liver, there are stores for carbohydrates, the so-called glycogens, which are the main form of creating an energy reserve in the body. So when we eat carbs, we burn or store them, and our body can’t convert carbs to fat unless the calorie count is off the charts from over-consumption of processed carbs. Unfortunately, a person with diabetes is obsessed with sugar, which means they are unable to see the cause of their disease in animal products, that is, in meat, milk, eggs and fish. 

“Society causes many people to ignore chronic diseases as a result of their dietary choices. Perhaps this is beneficial to those who make money on people’s illnesses. But, until the system changes, we must take personal responsibility for our health and for the health of our family. We can’t wait for society to catch up with science because it’s a matter of life and death,” says Dr. Michael Greger, who has been on a plant-based diet since 1990. 

President of the American College of Cardiology Dr. Kim Williams when asked about why he adheres to a plant-based diet, he said a chic phrase: “I’m not against death, I just don’t want it to be on my conscience.”

And finally, I will give two stories confirming the results of the above studies.

The first story of a man who once suffered from type 1 diabetes. Doctors put him on a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet, but he made a different decision: he switched to a plant-based diet and began to lead an active lifestyle. 

“I now know why my doctor condemned me to a life of diabetic complications,” says Ken Thomas, “it’s because the medical profession itself, and even the American Diabetes Association, promotes a low-carbohydrate diet to fight diabetes, which, in fact, gives a lot. very bad results. 26 years after switching to a plant-based diet, my blood sugar remains in control and I have never experienced even a hint of a diabetic complication. When I first changed my diet, I decided to treat food like medicine, sacrificing the pleasure of familiar foods for the sake of health. And over time, my taste buds have changed. I now love the clean, raw taste of my dishes and actually find animal products and fatty foods in general disgusting.”  

The second hero Ryan Fightmasterwho lived with type 1 diabetes for 24 years. The state of his health changed qualitatively after the transition to a plant-based diet, which he decided on by listening to the podcasts of a vegan athlete.

“After 12 months of eating a plant-based diet,” says Ryan, “my insulin requirements decreased by 50%. Living 24 years with type 1 diabetes, I injected an average of 60 units of insulin per day. Now I am gaining 30 units a day. Ignoring the traditional “wisdom”, I achieved these results, carbohydrates. And now I feel more love, more connection with life, I feel peace. I’ve run two marathons, I’ve gone to medical school, and I’m doing my own gardening.”

According to the American Diabetes Association, by 2030 the number of people with type 2 diabetes will be worldwide. And there is something for all of us to think about.

Take care of yourself and be happy!

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