As the number of people with type-two (adult onset) diabetes continues to soar, it is openly recognized that the growing waistline of the modern world is the main cause of this epidemic; however, most physicians, dieticians, and even the American Diabetes Association have virtually given up on weight reduction as the primary treatment for diabetics. Consider this statement from a medical advisory committee: “It is nearly impossible to take very obese people and get them to lose significant weight. So rather than specifying an amount of weight loss, we are targeting getting metabolic control.” This is doublespeak for—our recommended diets don’t work, so we just give medications and watch patients gradually deteriorate as the diabetes advances. Today, medications are the mainstay of treatment and, unfortunately, most of these medications cause weight gain, worsening the syndrome and making the individual more diabetic. Additionally, the narrow focus on blood-sugar reduction and reliance on medications gives patients a false sense of security because they mistakenly think their somewhat better controlled glucose levels are an indication of restored or improved health. They continue to gain weight following the same dietary habits that originally caused the problem.
It is well accepted that if it were possible for people to stick with weight reduction and high nutrient eating, that route would be the most successful. Patients with diabetes who successfully lose weight from undergoing gastric bypass surgery typically see their diabetes melt away.1 Dietary programs that have been successful at effecting weight loss have been dramatically effective for diabetics too, enabling patients to discontinue medications.2 Preventing and reversing diabetes is not all about weight loss. The nutritional features of Eat for Health have profound effects on improving pancreatic function and lowering insulin resistance over and above what could be accomplished with weight loss alone. The increased fiber, micronutrients, and stool bulk, plus the cholesterol-lowering and anti-inflammatory effects of this eating-style, have dramatic effects on type-II diabetes. Scores of my patients have been able to restore their glucose levels to the normal range without any further need for medications. They have become non-diabetic. Even my thin, type-I, insulin-dependent diabetic patients are typically able to reduce their insulin requirements by almost half and have better glucose control using this high-nutrient eating-style.
Diets high in fiber and vegetables have been consistently shown to be beneficial for diabetic patients and offer considerably better results when compared to the current recommendations of the American Diabetic Association Diet.3 The dietary advice typically offered to diabetics is not science-based, and it caters to Americans’ social and food preferences and food addictions. In contrast, the qualities of an eating-style that maximizes benefits for weight reduction, cardio protection, and diabetes reversal are described in Eat for Health.
This is an excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat For Health.
1. Schauer PR, Burguera B, Ikramuddin S, et al. Effect of laparoscopic Roux-en Y gastric bypass on type 2 diabetes mellitus. Ann Surg. 2003;238(4):467-484; discussion 84-85.
2. Harder H, Dinesen B, Astrup A. The effect of a rapid weight loss on lipid profile and glycemic control in obese type 2 diabetic patients. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004;28(1):180-182.
3. Barnard ND, Cohen J, Jenkins DJ, et al. A low-fat vegan diet improves glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in a randomized clinical trial in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2006;29(8):1777-1783.
Ford ES, Mokdad AH. Fruit and vegetable consumption and diabetes mellitus incidence among U.S. adults. Prev Med 2001;32(1):33-39.
Montonen J, Knekt P, Harkanen T, et al. Dietary patterns and the incidence of Type 2 Diabetes. Am J Epidem 2004;161(3):219-227.