PCRM’s Caroline Trapp Takes Healthy Message to China
China’s diet is Westernizing rapidly. Waistlines are expanding, and once-rare diabetes is becoming commonplace, now affecting about 50 million people. In the fall of 2007, PCRM director of diabetes education and care Caroline Trapp, M.S.N., C.D.E., went to China to introduce physicians to a new dietary approach.
China has a long tradition of plant-based diets. But meat intake rose 50 percent between 1995 and 2005, and rice consumption dropped, with devastating consequences. Type 2 diabetes is occurring at younger ages in China: The age group with the largest number of people with diabetes is 30 to 39 years old.
Cow’s milk, never part of the traditional diet, is now included on the “Food Pagoda,” the Chinese version of the USDA’s Food Pyramid. Healthier high-calcium foods such as tofu, soymilk, and green vegetables are disappearing.
As part of the People to People Ambassador Program for Diabetes Education in China, Ms. Trapp presented “A New Approach to Diet and Diabetes” at the Institute for Nutritional Sciences in Shanghai. She described the research showing that a low-fat, vegan diet treats type 2 diabetes more effectively than either a conventional diabetes diet or oral medications.
Ms. Trapp encouraged Chinese health care providers struggling to keep up with soaring diabetes rates to help their patients adopt a more traditional plant-based diet.