Dr. Barnard Helps ‘Viewers Like You’ Fight Diabetes
Millions of Public Broadcasting Service viewers learned about a new approach to controlling diabetes this March. PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D., traveled to PBS stations everywhere from Pittsburgh and Miami to Des Moines, Iowa, and Bowling Green, Ohio, to inform Americans that a low-fat vegan diet can help manage and even reverse type 2 diabetes.
The 60-minute program, titled “Taking Control of Diabetes with Dr. Neal Barnard,” is aimed at people with diabetes and those at risk of developing the disease. Dr. Barnard presented the program live in 10 cities, and hundreds of other PBS stations nationwide aired it, reaching approximately 80 percent of the PBS market. Dr. Barnard explained his three-part system for taking control of diabetes through a diet that is vegan, low in fat, and composed of foods with a low glycemic index.
The plant-based approach is based on a landmark study funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in Diabetes Care, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Rather than compensate for malfunctioning insulin, as other treatments do, the diet appears to help people’s own insulin work better by altering what goes on inside cells. It also leads to weight loss, better control of cholesterol and blood pressure, and better overall health.
Just two weeks before Dr. Barnard’s PBS tour, a government report surfaced about the dangers of Avandia, a common diabetes drug. The report found that in just three months in 2009, more than 300 deaths were linked to the oral medication. Dr. Barnard explained to PBS viewers that a vegan diet can effectively treat diabetes and has only positive side effects.