Veganism: New Approach For Diabetes Management

14 Oct 2020

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Veganism has gained enormous popularity in recent years, and it has been growing exponentially. People have various reasons to go vegan – some do it for ethical and health-related reasons while others opt for veganism to save the environment. But whatever the reason may be, people have been taking a growing interest in the idea of veganism, and it sure does have plenty of health benefits.

One of the most hyped benefits of following a vegan diet is that it can help manage diabetes conveniently. Let’s see how true it is. 

What Is Veganism?

Veganism is defined as a way of living that attempts to exclude all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty, be it for food, clothing, or any other purpose. Therefore, the vegan diet is devoid of all animal products, including meat, eggs, and dairy. 

A vegan diet mainly includes plant-based food items such as vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, etc. 

Veganism V/S Vegetarianism

It’s normal being confused between the two as both vegetarianism and veganism have a very minor difference.  

In vegetarianism, one does not eat any meat, poultry, or by-products of animal slaughter. However, the inclusion of eggs and dairy products depends on the diet. The most common types of vegetarians include [1]:

Lacto-Ovo Vegetarians: Avoid all meat, but consume dairy and egg products.

Lacto Vegetarians: Avoid meat and eggs, but consume dairy products.

Ovo Vegetarians: Avoid all animal products except eggs.

While on the other hand, in veganism one does not consume any meat, poultry or dairy products.

Vegan Diets And Diabetes

Embracing a vegan diet may be of assistance in keeping your blood sugar levels in check and type 2 diabetes at bay.

Several studies have demonstrated that vegans gain the benefit of lower blood sugar levels, higher insulin sensitivity, and up to a 78% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the first place when compared to non-vegans [5].

Moreover, it is reported that vegan diets lower blood sugar levels in diabetics up to 2.4 times more than diets recommended by the ADA, AHA and NCEP.

The advantages of a vegan diet can partly be attributed to higher fiber intake which reduces the blood sugar response. The weight loss due to a vegan diet may also contribute to its credibility to lower blood sugar levels. 

Positive Effects Of Veganism On Diabetes

A vegan diet may not cure your diabetes, but will surely offer some benefits that will help you manage your diabetes better – such as helping to better control weight, managing insulin, etc. 

Promotes Healthy Weight: Vegan diets contain lower calorie content in comparison to nonvegetarian diets. This helps with weight management and allows vegans to have a lower body mass index (BMI) than people who consume non-vegetarian food. Healthy body weight is essential to improve blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of complications that arise as a result of diabetes [2]. 

Improves Blood Sugar Levels And Insulin Response: Eating fruits, wholegrain, legumes, vegetables and nuts can improve your body’s blood sugar levels by making your body more responsive to insulin. And all these food items are an essential part of a vegan diet. Following a vegan diet may mean taking fewer medications and decreasing the risk of diabetes-related complications. However, a vegan diet can have adverse effects on blood sugar if it’s only rich in simple carbohydrates – more specifically, starches, such as potatoes, pasta, white rice and white bread [3]. 

Lowers The Glycemic Index: One of the many reasons a vegan diet may help prevent and/or control type 2 diabetes is because many plant-based foods, including non-starchy vegetables, many types of fruit, beans, nuts and seeds tend to have a lower glycemic index. Hence, there is a lower risk than they’ll cause a surge in your blood sugar on consumption. A vegan diet made up of foods that have a low glycemic load also enhances gut biofilms, the thin protective barriers that form around the bacteria in the gut and make it difficult for glucose to penetrate, which in turn slows the glycemic effect in the diet [4].  

Need For Supplements 

Although there are countless health benefits of a vegan diet, there is a drawback too. Often a vegan diet deprives one of the essential nutrients such as vitamin B12, creatine, carnosine, vitamin D3, DHA, etc that cannot be sourced from plants. Therefore, to ensure the presence of these nutrients in the body, one must consider taking food supplements. 

Setu ALA supplement is a powerful antioxidant that helps maintain blood sugar levels, boosts energy and ensures optimal liver functions. The supplement is formulated using 300mg of pure ALA, is clinically tested, has zero side effects, and is 100% vegetarian. 

A vegan diet may seem tempting given the number of health benefits it has to offer. However, it is ideal to consult your doctor or talk to your nutritionist before making any big diet changes. 

References:

  1. https://vegsoc.org/info-hub/definition/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19279075/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24149445/
  4. https://spectrum.diabetesjournals.org/content/30/2/82
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2671114/

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