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Plant-based diet helps people with type 1 diabetes, improves insulin sensitivity: Study

"Decades of research have proven that a plant-based diet can be beneficial for those with type 2 diabetes. Now, these groundbreaking case studies are offering hope that the same may be true for those with type 1 diabetes," said Dr Hana Kahleova

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi | Published: July 24, 2020 6:20:45 pm
plant based diet Plant-based diet is beneficial for diabetics, says study. (Source: getty images)

New case studies have shown that plant-based diets are rich in whole carbohydrates, which help in improving insulin sensitivity and other health markers in people with type 1 diabetes.

The case studies were conducted by researchers from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and have been published in the Journal of Diabetes & Metabolism. One of the case studies followed a female type 1 diabetes patient. At the time, her A1c was 8.7 per cent. She initially adopted a low-carbohydrate (less than 30 grams of carbohydrate per day), high-fat diet that was high in meat and dairy. Her blood sugar stabilised, but she required more insulin per gram of carbohydrate consumed. Her total cholesterol also increased from 175 to 221 mg/dL.

After the patient shifted to a plant-based diet (eliminating dairy products, eggs and meat), she was able to decrease her insulin dosage. A drop in the cholesterol level was also noted.

“This study challenges the misconception that carbs are the enemy when it comes to diabetes. The patient in this case study experienced the opposite: Adding more healthful carbohydrates to her diet stabilized her glycemic control, reduced her insulin needs, and boosted her overall health,” study author Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD, director of clinical research at the Physicians Committee, was quoted as saying.

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The second case study followed a 42-year-old male type 1 diabetes patient. And the results were similar.

The researchers noted that a small study done earlier supported the case study results — high-carbohydrate, high-fibre diet improved glycemic control in 10 people with type 1 diabetes.

Low-fat, plant-based diets also benefit those with type 2 diabetes, research has shown. Those who eat a plant-based diet have approximately half the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, compared with non-vegetarians.

“Decades of research have proven that a plant-based diet can be beneficial for those with type 2 diabetes. Now, these groundbreaking case studies are offering hope that the same may be true for those with type 1 diabetes,” said Dr Kahleova.

(With inputs from ANI)

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