PCRM President Takes Diabetes Program to India
Last month, PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D., traveled to India to spread the news that a low-fat vegetarian diet can help manage type 2 diabetes. Dr. Barnard toured 10 cities, speaking at hospitals and diabetes centers about how to handle India’s growing diabetes epidemic.
Vegetarian diets have a long tradition in India. However, over the last several years, Western diets have been moving in, bringing typically Western diseases along with them. Dr. Barnard warned the audience that if current trends continue, India will become the diabetes capital of the world by the year 2030 with 80 million diabetics.
"But the good news is that it can be addressed and numbers could be reduced significantly if India goes back to its vegetarian roots," Dr. Barnard said.
Dr. Barnard outlined his program, which is based on a series of research studies he and his colleagues have conducted over the years, the latest funded by the National Institutes of Health. Published in the August 2006 issue of Diabetes Care, that study found Dr. Barnard’s program to be three times more effective than the American Diabetes Association diet at controlling blood sugar.
The studies also show that by adopting a low-fat vegan diet—free of all animal products and added vegetable oils—individuals can lower their cholesterol, reduce their blood pressure, and lose weight.
Dr. Barnard’s program was well received by health care professionals in cities such as Bangalore, New Delhi, and Hyderabad. Dr. Barnard encouraged them to help their patients adopt a low-fat vegetarian diet and offered them resources, including modified versions of traditional Indian dishes.
His lectures were covered in more than a dozen major newspapers, including The Hindu and Financial Times Business Line.