PCRM Preps for Diabetes Awareness Month with Today Show Appearance and Study Showing Vegan Diets Reduce Diabetes Risks
November is Diabetes Awareness Month, but at PCRM we spend every month providing education on the best way to prevent and reverse type 2 diabetes—a vegan diet. In October, PCRM released a new study showing that a vegan diet reduces heart disease risk in people with type 2 diabetes, and a Today show appearance by PCRM member Milton Mills, M.D., focused on healthy eating to prevent childhood diabetes.
The new PCRM study, published in the October Journal of the American Dietetic Association (JADA), shows that a low-fat vegan diet is associated with a greater reduction in heart disease risk in people with type 2 diabetes than a diet based on American Diabetes Association (ADA) guidelines.
In the study, the vegan diet dramatically cut consumption of cholesterol, fat, and saturated fat, and increased healthful fiber, beta-carotene, and vitamins K and C intake, compared with the diet based on ADA guidelines. Almost half of the participants in the vegan group reduced, if not eliminated, their medication, compared with only 26 percent of participants in the ADA group.
“Two out of three people with diabetes die of heart disease or stroke, so it is hugely significant to find that a low-fat vegan diet can treat diabetes and dramatically reduce heart disease risk,” says lead author Gabrielle M. Turner-McGrievy, M.S., R.D., a nutrition scientist with PCRM. “These findings should encourage anyone with diabetes to talk to their physician about adopting a vegan diet to manage their disease and reduce the risk of a heart attack.”
While participants in both groups improved, the vegan group experienced significantly greater reductions in A1c (a measure of blood sugar levels over a prolonged period), weight, body mass index, waist circumference, and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, excluding participants who changed or reduced their medication.
How does this information on a vegan diet translate into diabetes prevention for the one in three kids born today who will someday get diabetes?
On October 10, Dr. Mills, who has been featured in PCRM public service announcements on childhood obesity, discussed childhood diabetes on the Today show segment "Change Diabetes Today," which was filmed at a Washington, D.C., school.
“Type 2 diabetes is almost entirely preventable, particularly in children,” said Dr. Mills. “By helping children lose weight, change their diet, and change their exercise habits, we can significantly reduce the risk for developing the disease.”
As Dr. Mills has previously recommended, a healthful vegan diet of grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes—like the one in the JADA study—can reverse childhood obesity, which is a major risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes.
This month, to recognize Diabetes Awareness Month, Neal Barnard, M.D., PCRM president, will continue his successful Reverse Diabetes Tour, with a free lecture open to the general public, on November 18, in Detroit Lakes, Minn.
Dr. Barnard, along with Caroline Trapp, M.S.N., C.D.E., PCRM’s director of diabetes education and care, will also present the continuing medical education seminar "A New Approach to Diet and Diabetes Control" to health care providers in Albuquerque, N.M., and Fargo, N.D.
Learn more about PCRM’s Food for Life diabetes resources.