Diabetics Will Benefit with Vegan Diet
By Susan Levin, R.D.
This letter was published June 3, 2007, in The Courier.
Millions of Americans rely on drugs to control their diabetes. But is this the safest, most-effective way to manage the disease?
A recent report in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that the widely used diabetes drug, Avandia, increases the risk of heart attack by 43 percent and the risk of dying from heart attack or stroke by 64 percent. As a dietitian, I’m concerned about drug safety and the cost of diabetes-drug regimens. But I also know that most people, given the opportunity. would prefer making dietary changes over taking drugs, if it would improve their health.
Switching to a plant-based diet is a cost-effective way to manage diabetes, especially over the long-term. Studies have shown that people with diabetes who follow a low-fat, low-glycemic, vegan diet experience significant reductions in their blood-sugar levels, lose weight and lower their cholesterol. Some people even reduce or eliminate the need for diabetes medications and statins.
Of course, decisions about medication should always be made in consultation with a physician. But people with diabetes deserve to know that healthy, dietary changes can play a role in the management of their disease.
Staff nutritionist at Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine