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NEWS RELEASE February 6, 2008

Deaths in ACCORD Study Raise Questions About Diabetes Treatment Risks

Low-Fat Vegan Diet is Both Safe and Effective for Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes experts with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) are available for comment about the large government diabetes study that has been partly stopped because of 257 unexpected deaths. The study—Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD)—is run by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The announcement was made this morning.

"The safest approach to diabetes and other diet-related diseases is a dietary approach,” says diabetes researcher Neal D. Barnard, M.D. “While deaths increased in the ACCORD study, they have fallen in lifestyle trials. In fact, long-term diet and lifestyle interventions in heart patients have cut cardiac risk in half.” Other studies have shown that a low-fat vegan diet can have dramatic effects on type 2 diabetes.

“While we don’t yet know what went wrong in the ACCORD trial, these tragic deaths are a good reason to increase the focus on a proven—and safer—approach: lifestyle changes,” says Dr. Barnard.

PCRM Experts Available for Comment:

  • Dr. Barnard was the lead investigator on a National Institutes of Health-funded study that showed a low-fat vegan diet is more effective at treating type 2 diabetes than both the standard diabetes diet and oral medications. Published in Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Diabetes Association, the study showed that a low-fat, low-glycemic-index vegan diet allows many people to minimize and sometimes even eliminate their need for medications. Additionally, the study showed that research participants found the diet easier to stick with than the traditional diabetes diet. For more information about Dr. Barnard, please visit
  • Diabetes nurse educator Caroline Trapp, M.S.N., A.P.R.N., B.C.-ADM, C.D.E., heads PCRM's Diabetes Education and Care Division, which offers a wide variety of resources for diabetes patients, including free online cooking classes and support groups. Ms. Trapp also coordinates PCRM's continuing medical education program.

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

Media Contact:
Jeanne S. McVey

Neal Barnard, M.D.
Neal Barnard, M.D.

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