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NEWS RELEASE January 9, 2007

Diabetes Epidemic Is Reversible with Diet, Says Nutrition Researcher

New Book Shows Low-Fat Vegan Diet More Effective than Standard Treatments

WASHINGTON—A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes is often a grim precursor to heart disease, kidney failure, stroke, nervous system damage, and other life-threatening complications. But a new book by nutrition researcher Neal Barnard, M.D., says it doesn’t have to be that way. Based on his own recently published research, Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes explains that many of the 20 million Americans suffering from diabetes could dramatically improve their condition, not just “manage” it as most treatment programs aim to do.

The book describes a new nutritional approach—a low-fat vegan diet—that can help many patients cut their blood sugars, improve their insulin sensitivity, and reduce—if not eliminate—their medications. Rather than compensate for malfunctioning insulin, like other treatments, the diet actually helps an individual’s own insulin work better by altering what goes on inside that person’s cells. What’s more, the diet lowers cholesterol and high blood pressure, helps with weight loss, and improves energy.

“Our research shows that the low-fat vegan diet is more effective at treating diabetes than the typical diet or oral medications,” says Dr. Barnard. “And although this may seem counterintuitive, our study participants found the vegan diet easier to stick with than the standard—or American Diabetes Association—diet. That’s because no one has to cut calories, watch portion sizes, or limit carbohydrates. This approach could put a huge dent in the diabetes epidemic.” More than 200 million people worldwide suffer from type 2 diabetes. A recently released study from Harvard University School of Public Health calculates that the problem of high blood sugar is comparable to that of smoking, high cholesterol, and obesity and overweight.

Book details: Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes (Rodale; January 2007; $25.95; hardcover; ISBN: 1-59486-528-0) is based on clinical research the author conducted with George Washington University and the University of Toronto. That study—recently published in Diabetes Care—was funded by the National Institutes of Health. The book includes a three-week meal plan and more than 50 delicious recipes—including both simple and adventurous offerings—which were developed by chef Bryanna Clark Grogan.

Author details: Neal Barnard, M.D., is a nutrition researcher and adjunct associate professor of medicine at George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. He is also the president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and the author of many previous books on diet and health, including Food for Life, Foods thatFight Pain, and Breaking the Food Seduction. Dr. Barnard has extensive experience with national TV and radio and is a popular public speaker. Dr. Barnard is launching a nationwide “Reverse Diabetes Lecture Tour” this month. In many cities he will be accompanied by a local chef or cooking teacher who will prepare some of the types of foods recommended in his program. 

Note to art directors/producers: Real diabetes patients who participated in the study are available for interviews as are chefs who can do on-air cooking demonstrations of foods recommended in Dr. Barnard’s program. Downloadable food photos and recipes are also available at

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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