Veganism vs Diabetes: One Patient’s Story

More than two-thirds of adults in America are overweight, and one of the leading causes of death is diabetes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts that the number of people with the disease will double by 2030.

Baird is a 72-year-old engineer from Toledo. He belongs to a small but growing number of people who have opted for a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle as a treatment for chronic and acquired nutritional diseases.

Norm decided to change after he was diagnosed with cancer. During treatment, he began injecting himself with insulin to counteract the steroid he was taking to regulate his blood sugar levels. However, after chemotherapy, when Baird had already finished taking insulin, he acquired a new disease – type XNUMX diabetes.

“As you get older, doctors seem to have only two health columns,” he says. “Every year, it seems like diseases from the list of possible ones are actively moving into the column with those that you already have.”

In 2016, oncologist Robert Ellis suggested Baird try a vegetarian diet. In his interview, the doctor noted that the most popular diseases in the United States – cancer, heart disease and obesity – can be prevented and treated with the right diet.

“One of the first things I look at with patients is their diet,” he said. “If you had an expensive high-performance car that needed high-performance fuel, would you fill it up with cheap gasoline?”

In 2013, physicians in the United States were called upon to recommend a plant-based diet to patients. Now the publication in has become one of the most cited scientific papers ever published on the subject.

Dr. Ellis recommends a plant-based diet for 80% of his patients. Half of them agree to review their diet, but in reality only 10% of patients take action. A person can drastically lower their blood sugar simply by eating plants and whole foods, and avoiding meat and other high-fat animal foods.

One of the biggest barriers to diet change is socio-economic. People think that a vegetarian diet is more expensive than any other diet. Also, high-quality products are sold far from everywhere and cost a lot of money.

Baird decided to start with a nutrition program. Together with nutritionist Andrea Ferreiro, they thought through all the stages of giving up meat products.

“Norm was the perfect patient,” Ferreiro said. “He is an engineer, an analyst, so we just told him what to do and how, and he implemented everything.”

Baird gradually removed all animal products from the diet. In five weeks, the blood sugar level dropped to six units, which no longer classifies a person as a diabetic. He was able to stop injecting himself with the insulin he had to use

Doctors constantly monitored Baird’s condition to track the chemical changes taking place in his body after changing the nutrition system. Now the patient calls the doctor once a week and reports that everything is going well. He lost almost 30 kilograms of excess weight, continues to measure blood sugar and notes that his condition is only getting better.

Ekaterina Romanova


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