US researcher favours veg diet to fight type-2 diabetes

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Panaji, Jan 11 (UNI) A low-fat vegetarian diet can treat type 2 diabetes as or more effectively than standard treatments, including oral medications, according to a US study.

Meatless diets have long been respected in India, but now a major US study has provided a new reason to go vegetarian.

US-based Nutrition researcher Dr Neal Barnard said vegetarian diet is a way to stem the raging epidemic of type 2 diabetes.

Dr Barnard was in Goa yesterday as part of efforts taken to share his findings on a 10-city tour of medical colleges and hospitals in India this month.

In his research funded by the US-based National Institutes of Health, Dr Barnard showed that a dairy-free vegan diet can help many patients cut their blood sugars, improve their insulin sensitivity, and reduce, if not eliminate, their medications.

The diet also lowers cholesterol and high blood pressure, helps with weight loss, and improves energy. The study was published in Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Diabetes Association.

The number of people with type 2 diabetes in India had more than doubled since 1995, largely because of changing eating habits, said Dr Barnard.

A low-fat vegan diet can reverse this trend. Type 2 diabetes can cause heart disease, kidney failure, stroke, nervous system damage, vision loss, and other serious or life-threatening complications.

Rather than compensate for malfunctioning insulin, like other treatments, Dr Barnard's diet actually helps an individual's own insulin work better by altering what goes on inside that person's cells.

The low-fat, low-glycemic-index diet has gained in popularity since the last year publication of the book Dr Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes and growing concerns over increased cardiac risks caused by some diabetes drugs.

With its large population and its widespread tradition of vegetarianism, Dr Barnard viewed India as a key player in combating the global epidemic of diabetes.

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