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Diabetes Self-Management Education

Resources for Plant-Based Diabetes Nutrition Education

A low-fat plant-based diet can help those with diabetes achieve normal glucose levels and reduce or eliminate medications.

Developed by certified diabetes care and education specialists (CDCES) and available to you at no cost, this four-lesson plant-based curriculum provides evidence-based materials for diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES) programs. Use this program to replace the nutritional management and diabetes disease process content areas of an American Diabetes Association (ADA) Education Recognition program or Diabetes Education Accreditation Program (DEAP) DSMES program curriculum. Or use this curriculum to meet the requirement for recognized programs for ongoing support (Standard 8).1 

Plant-based eating patterns focus on whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. This eating pattern has been studied and is a dietary pattern recommended by the ADA to be effective for the treatment and prevention of type 2 diabetes.2 It is the recommended dietary pattern of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists/American College of Endocrinology (AACE/ACE) for the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes.3 The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) says a vegan dietary pattern is “healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases,” including diabetes.4 A plant-based eating pattern is an option recommended by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for all Americans. If you yourself have not tried a plant-based dietary pattern, a free 21-day program is available as an app.

Research shows that dietary changes enhance behavior because of the significant improvements in overall health, as seen through blood glucose, body weight, and other clinical outcomes.5 Patients have reported that following a low-fat vegan diet significantly improves quality of life and is sustainable in the long run.6

This curriculum is intended to cover the healthy eating and the diabetes disease process content areas and should be used as a supplement to an already approved DSMES curriculum. While this curriculum does not provide content on the skills required for glucose monitoring or cover all the various classes of medications, it does discuss, in limited fashion, medication management, self-monitoring of blood glucose, problem-solving, and healthy coping to reinforce these concepts and discuss their application in relation to a plant-based dietary pattern. Your patients will benefit from a wealth of practical information.

Access these four modules, which includes PowerPoint slides, handouts, recipes, and videos. These may be presented as complete lessons, or you may select the modules or parts of each module that meet the needs of your patients and practice setting.


  1. Beck J, Greenwood DA, Blanton L, et al. 2017 national standards for diabetes self-management education and support. Diabetes Educ. 2018;44(1):35-50. doi: 10.1177/0145721718754797
  2. American Diabetes Association. 5. Facilitating behavior change and well-being to improve health outcomes: standards of medical care in diabetes—2021. 2021;44(Suppl 1):S53-S72. doi: 10.2337/dc21-S005.
  3. Garber AJ, Handelsman Y, Grunberger G, et al. Consensus statement by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and American College of Endocrinology on the comprehensive type 2 diabetes management algorithm–2020 executive summary. Endocr Pract. 2020;26(1):107-139. doi: 10.4158/CS-2019-0472
  4. Melina V, Craig W, Levin S. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: vegetarian diets. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2016;116(12):1970-1980. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2016.09.025.
  5. Barnard ND, Gloede L, Cohen J, et al. A low-fat vegan diet elicits greater macronutrient changes, but is comparable in adherence and acceptability, compared with a more conventional diabetes diet among individuals with type 2 diabetes. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;109(2):263-272. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2008.10.049
  6. Agarwal U, Mishra S, Xu J, Levin S, Gonzales J, Barnard ND. A multicenter randomized controlled trial of a nutrition intervention program in a multiethnic adult population in the corporate setting reduces depression and anxiety and improves quality of life: the GEICO study. Am J Health Promot. 2015;29(4):245-254. doi: 10.4278/ajhp.130218-QUAN-72

Get More Free Resources

Download the Physicians Committee-provided modules, presentations, and other resources to help you develop your DSMES program around plant-based nutrition. Fill out the form below and the download link will be delivered to your email inbox.

P.S. Are you a member of the ADCES Plant-Based Nutrition Community of Interest? This free group is open to all ADCES members. Click here to learn more.