Vegan diet can treat type II diabetes: Dr Barnard

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Ahmedabad, Jan 9 (UNI) Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine President Dr Neal Barnard today suggested that it is the time for an easternisation of the Indian diet as the western diets are displacing vegetarian tradition of the country.

Dr Barnard, who is in the city to share his findings on a ten-city tour of medical colleges in India and address a seminar in B J Medical College this evening, said that meatless diets are respected in India but, now a major US study has provided a new reason to go vegetarian -- a way to stem the raging epidemic of type II diabetes.

He said that the number of people with type II diabetes in India, has more than doubled since 1995, largely because of changing eating habits.

Dr Barnard said that the low-fat, low-glycemic-index diet has gained popularity since the publication of his study report last year globally. A lot-fat vegan diet improves glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in a randomized clinical trial in individuals with type II diabetes, he added.

Dr Barnard said that type II diabetes is the most common form of diabetes in which either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to enable glucose for energy. Type II can cause heart disease, kidney failure, stroke, nervous system damage, vision loss and other serious complications.

The research that he carried out in 2003, has shown that a low fat vegan diet can treat type II diabetes more effectively than standard treatments including oral medications.

He said 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.

Diabetes prevalence will more than double in the next three decades. Instead of focussing on carbohydrate, we should focus on eliminating fat and animal products. Plant based diets reduce blood sugar, cut cholesterol and lower bodyweight resulting in reduction of the need for medication, he said.

Dr Barnard said that a randomized controlled trial of a vegan diet with exercise held constant to test the hypothesis that in individuals with type II diabetes, a low fat plant based diet improves glycemic, plasma lipid and weight control compared with a diet based on current American Diabetes Association guidelines.


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