First of all, what is diabetes?
There are two types of diabetes, one that is a congenital disease (you are born with it or it develops during the first years of life and there is actually nothing you can do about it), this is type I diabetes. The other is a chronic non-transmissible disease (which means that you cause it to yourself by your own life choices), this is type II diabetes. Today I will the relationship between diabetes and a vegan diet. First some basic information.
Type I Diabetes:
Type I Diabetes is a condition in which your pancreas does not produce insulin. What this does is that every time you eat, the carbohydrates that you consume cannot enter the cells after being metabolized to glucose. The main way sugar enters cells is by the usage of insulin. By not having it available, the sugar stays in the bloodstream, causing a condition called hyperglycemia. This condition damages small blood vessels, causes circulation problems, and can be toxic, among other things. The only way to control type I diabetes is by injecting exogenous insulin (this is not as traumatic as it sounds, it actually quite simple), every day, for every meal. The amount of insulin depends on the amounts of carbs that you are going to ingest. By controlling the amount of carb intake with the amount of insulin used, a person with type I diabetes can have a totally normal live, including sports, partying, etc.
Type II Diabetes:
Type II Diabetes is a condition caused by the resistance of our cells to use our own insulin. This is a phenomenon caused by a large period of time of over-production of insulin, mainly because of a saturation of insulin receptors in our cells due to fat. Nowadays, we know that it is not sugar which cause diabetes, but fat and animal protein. Sugar is just the way it presents itself in the biochemical analysis. Short and long term studies have proven that a high carb diet (regardless of the type of carbohydrate, simple or complex) results in better Ah1c levels than a high fat + protein and low carb diet. So as Dr. Garth Davis said, it’s the meat that makes us sweet. Hence the correlation with the vegan diet.
Diabetes and Vegan Diet:
As discussed in my previous post about vegan weight loss, the vegan diet is based mainly on carbohydrates and eliminates almost all sources of saturated fat and reduces the total amount of fat intake. Of course, it does not contain sources of animal protein. So, by eliminating both inflammation causing substrates, animal protein and saturated fat, the incidence of diabetes goes down. Yes, you can have a diet based mainly on carbohydrates and not develop diabetes. As long as you keep the animal protein and fat to the minimum. The vegan diet involves many sources of complex carbohydrates such as legumes, tubers, whole-wheat cereals, vegetables and fruits, since it uses whole foods. This ensures a steady production and release of insulin, achieving healthy Ah1c levels in the long run. Let’s take it a step further; Can a vegan diet reverse diabetes? Many well-known researchers are starting to claim that it is possible and that by adopting a vegan diet, diabetes can be reversed. Personally I have not seen a substantial amount of evidence which confirms it, but many correlations seem to point that way. Where there is smoke, there ought to be fire.
We now know that it is not sugar which causes diabetes, but I would like you to ask around to your friends and family this couple of questions:
Do you know what diabetes is? If they answer affirmatively: Why does one gets diabetes?
You will be surprised by the answer.