The bacterial environment of the digestive tract may contribute to obesity and diabetes, according to a review article in the publication On the Cutting Edge, by the Diabetes Care and Education practice group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Continuous exposure to low-grade antibiotics in the food system, long-term antibiotic use, or poor dietary choices may cause dysbiosis, an imbalance of gut bacteria. This imbalance can lead to increases in both the number of calories the gut takes from food and inflammation, which increases risk of insulin resistance and leads to changes in metabolism that contribute to fat cell growth. Adopting a plant-based diet is one way to decrease exposure to antibiotics and help balance gut bacteria.
A whole-foods, plant-based diet is also highly effective for the prevention, treatment, and management of diabetes, according to another review article in the same publication. While common advice for diabetic patients includes counting carbohydrates and cutting calories, both observational and interventional studies support the effectiveness of a plant-based diet to reduce insulin resistance, lower blood pressure, shed excess weight, and improve blood sugar control, despite a higher carbohydrate load.
These results are consistent with previous research on plant-based diets and diabetes. To learn more about diabetes health, visit: http://pcrm.org/diabetes.
- Jardine M. The role of microbiota in obesity and diabetes. On the Cutting Edge: Diabetes Care and Education. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2015;35:10-14.
- Jardine M. Plant-based nutrition: a therapeutic option for diabetes. On the Cutting Edge: Diabetes Care and Education. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2015;35:15-20.
- Yokoyama Y, Barnard ND, Levin SM, Watanabe M. Vegetarian diets and glycemic control in diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Cardiovasc Diagn Ther. 2014;4:373-382.