What is a Vegan Diet?
A Vegan Diet is a way of eating in which a person avoids eating all animal products. It contains only plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, and nuts. This includes vegan foods such as bread, cereals, pasta without cheese, and pastries without butter. Veganism can extend to avoiding animal-derived clothes (such as leather) and cosmetics (such as honey).
How Does a Vegan Diet Help Manage Diabetes?
Some studies have found that Vegan Diets can improve blood glucose and insulin levels, lower HbA1c levels, and reduce the need for medication in people with diabetes. In addition, a Vegan Diet can help you lose weight (if you are overweight), which reduces the risk of developing diabetes. The ADA supports all types of nutritionally sound diets, including vegetarian and other dietary patterns that follow the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
What are the Benefits of a Vegan Diet?
Reducing your calorie intake will help you lose weight and lower your risk of developing diabetes. It can lower LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and increase HDL cholesterol. Vegetarian diets have been associated with reduced risk of many chronic diseases, including diabetes and heart disease. Vegans are less likely than other people to smoke, drink alcohol excessively, or abuse drugs such as marijuana.
What are the Short-Term Risks of a Vegan Diet?
Potential short-term risks include a low intake of protein and other essential nutrients. Careful planning can help you avoid these potential problems. For example, vitamin B12 is found in dairy products and eggs, calcium is found in milk and cheese, and iron is found in beans, vegetables such as spinach and kale, legumes (such as lentils), tofu made with calcium sulfate instead of magnesium chloride, whole grains, and dark green leafy vegetables.
What Are Some Long-Term Risks from a Vegan Diet?
Adopting a Vegan Diet alone can increase the risk of nutritional deficiencies, especially vitamin B12 and iron. Some people may have difficulty meeting their protein needs without meat, eggs, fish, or dairy products.
What are the Benefits of Eating Animal Products?
Many food groups provide specific nutrients that cannot be naturally obtained through plant foods. Animal foods are also often fortified with nutrients (such as vitamin B12), especially in processed and packaged foods.
How does a Vegan Diet Affect My Blood Sugar?
For people with diabetes, especially for people with type 1 diabetes, It can help manage blood sugar. In one review of 25 studies, people following a Vegan Diet had lower HbA1c and lower average blood glucose (both fasting and the following breakfast) than those following other diets. These benefits were not seen in those without diabetes or after a change in the diet of diabetics.
What Should I Eat?
Vegetables, fruits, grains, soy products, and legumes provide many of the needed nutrients and can be part of a healthy Vegan Diet. Good sources of protein include soy products (tofu, tempeh, soymilk, and texturized vegetable protein), seitan (a wheat product with less than 20% protein), quinoa (a grain-like seed that is higher in protein than grains such as rice or oats) and beans.