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  • Sep
  • 9

Slice Your Diabetes Risk in Half: Go Vegan!

Posted by at 2:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)

.:Melissa:. / CC by 2.0

Here’s yet another reason to observe Meatless Mondays … and Tuesdays and Wednesdays and Thurs—well, you get the idea. A new Harvard School of Public Health study shows that eating processed meats and red meat can increase one’s risk of type 2 diabetes—a potentially deadly condition that can cause blindness; heart, eye, and kidney problems; and nerve damage and affect circulation in the legs—by as much as 51 percent!

And they’re not just talking about ardent carnivores who eat 10 strips of bacon for breakfast, a couple of hot dogs at the ballpark, and a massive cheeseburger for dinner. Anyone who eats just 3.5 ounces of processed meat—equivalent to two slices of bacon or a hot dog—every day has a 51 percent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. People who eat one 100-gram serving of red meat—about the size of a deck of cards—a day have a 19 percent greater risk of developing the disease.

Unfortunately, the average American meat-eater will consume twice that amount of meat each day—and that’s no bologna. According to Mark Bittman,  Americans eat about eight ounces of meat each day—or about twice as much meat as the average person worldwide.

Not surprisingly, America spend more money on health care than does any other nation. Records show that approximately 25 million people in the U.S. now have diabetes and that around 57 million others have pre-diabetes. The saturated fat, cholesterol, and heme iron found in animal products put people at risk of developing diabetes—or worsening the disease if they already have it.

Fortunately, people can prevent—and even reverse—diabetes by eating a healthy plant-based diet. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), “Vegetarian diets provide a nutrient combination that is likely to be beneficial in treating diabetes and preventing complications …. Not only does the diet help control blood sugar, but, because whole grains, nuts, viscous fibers, soy proteins, and plant sterols lower serum cholesterol concentrations, the diet also helps prevent cardiovascular complications. Substituting soy or other vegetable proteins for animal protein may also reduce the risk of diabetes-related kidney problems.”

A 2006 study led by Dr. Neal Barnard, the president of PCRM, suggests that diabetics who eat low-fat vegan foods are able to stop taking medications—or at least take fewer of them—to manage the disease. Many study participants also lost weight and lowered their cholesterol just by switching to a vegan diet.

In his book, Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes, Dr. Barnard encourages diabetics to choose foods from PCRM’s “New Four Food Groups”: grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Everyone, diabetic or not, can enjoy the innovative meal ideas and recipes in the book. For more tasty, disease-fighting recipes, check out PETA’s recipe section.

Image: .:Melissa:. / CC by 2.0

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  • ARCHURE says:

    “…. only a fraction of U.S. adults currently get the recommended daily intake of all B vitamins by diet alone” -Harvard.edu http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/vitamin-b/index.html#bottom-line
    I have been searching the net, and I think around 30% of people do not get any vitamins at all, and are thus depressed (lack of B vitamins causes depression)

  • ARCHURE says:

    AND eat lots of LOW GLYCECMIC FOODS such as Legumes, Soy, and Pasta.

  • Paul says:


    Congrats on you diet change! Here’s a post on protein from a few months back that may help answer your question!

  • Jason says:

    I just today made the choice to be a vegetarian YAY!!!!! What are some foods I can eat to replace meat proteins?

  • Oliver says:

    i am only a lacto vegetarian, but I would have to consider veganism from the above comments. -I understand that there are also cruelties associated with mordern day dairies. may have to switch to soy milk or so. I too am an animal lover, but beyond these concerns I researched that meat eating is one of the biggest causes of both Global Warming as well as World Hunger dirrectly or indirectly -although there seem to be arguements for and against this. -however it makes you wonder why we were ever eating meat in the first place.

  • Tina says:

    Some health experts claim that you are what you eat. So if one suffers from cancer or a heart condition, you brought it on yourself. In the above case, the kidney condition probably would be worse by a meat based diet.

    However, I used to be vegetarian and then one day decided to go vegan. I thought about it, milk is liquid meat, and eggs are one of the cruelest industries on the planet. I just gave it up in a day, because vegetarians suffer from the same illnesses as do meat eaters and to lessen the impact on cruelty to animlas. A friend of mine has cancer and claims she is a vegetarian and the disease will probably be terminal, but I know she cheated and ate ice cream and also cheese. So perhaps that is what precipitated her illness. Of course, I realize that one can be a vegan and if an illness is agressive enough it might be terminal anyway. But veganism is a step in the right direction and is much more environmental friendly and animal friendly, free from cruelty and abuse. I am curiour if any scientific studies have been completed, I know of Colin Campbell and his China study and others but they are not directly animal friendly. PCRM quotes data on this subject matter but I believe that these quotes are from other studies.

  • Emanuel says:

    Hey Regina, I completely feel the same, I’m vegan (well okay, for 80% at least) for about six months for the same reason.

    My mother though LOVES meat and has diabetes. She clames there’s already so much she’s not allowed to eat , so she won’t stop eating meat. ;-(

  • regina sigal says:

    I’ve been a vegetarian for 50 years now. I’ve been born with kidney desease and went through dialysis for 6 years and finaly the transplant. Being a vegetarian helped me fighting my kidney problems and being alive today. But it is not a real reason for being a vegetarian. The real reason is my unconditional love for all animals. I am a walking anxiaty attack when I hear of defensless animals being abused and killed by people.
    My only problem is that I am not a real vegan yet, but I am trying really hard.

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