The vegan diet or veganism has gained popularity over the recent years with many individuals realising its role in improving health and conserving the environment. But can people with diabetes follow a vegan diet? Will a vegan diet help get your blood sugar level normal? This blog will help you clear your doubts.
Veganism is derived from the word vegetarian, where you refrain from using or eating any animal-based products. This includes clothes, accessories, food, beverage and cruelty to animals in any form. A vegan diet involves stopping the consumption of animal-based products such as meat in any form, honey and includes dairy products like milk, cheese, paneer, etc. These foods and beverages are replaced with plant-based alternatives.
Diabetes and Vegan Diet
Diabetes is characterised by raised blood sugar levels and an ineffective insulin control mechanism. Therefore, you need a diet that gets normal blood sugar levels for adults as well as children and controls the complications related to raised blood sugar levels. A vegan diet is beneficial for type 2 diabetes.
A study compared a vegan diet with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) guidelines diet in individuals with type 2 diabetes. This 22-week clinical trial showed that both types of the diet lowered blood sugar levels and cholesterol but the effects of a vegan diet showed greater improvements.
Many more studies have shown that a vegan diet in diabetes helps acquire normal blood sugar levels for adults but researchers have recommended a planned and careful approach when planning a vegan diet in terms of the nutrients acquired and the risks of a strict vegan diet.
Also, read about fasting blood sugar normal range
- Source of Nutrients
A vegan diet chart for diabetes means eating more veggies, fruits and grains that contribute to essential nutrients, antioxidants and fibre that help fight infections and reduce the general sense of fatigue observed in diabetes. A vegan diet also offers more iron than animal-based food, but your body is unable to absorb all the iron from plant sources. Therefore, iron requirements may need to be fulfilled with dietary supplements.
- Effect on body weight
The amount of fat intake is low in a vegan diet with high fibre content which helps in weight loss and weight maintenance better than a conventional low-fat diet.
- Blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity
Avoiding meat, poultry and dairy products help get your blood sugar level normal and it also works to reduce the risk of developing diabetes. For all those planning to adopt a healthy lifestyle, a vegan diet is the one to go for. A vegan diet may initially cause a spike in your blood sugar as insulin resistance is high and your body is not used to high carbohydrate intake.
Although a vegan diet is low in fat, it contains a higher proportion of starch and carbohydrates that may increase blood sugar levels considerably. Therefore, you need to balance carbohydrates and starch with fibre and proteins to strike healthy sustenance.
- Kidney function
Individuals with diabetes are prone to chronic kidney disease and insufficiency. A healthy plant-based diet has shown promising results in kidney diseases. A vegan diet may be rich in potassium-rich plant-based foods that may prove detrimental to your kidneys. Researchers have therefore recommended that you maintain a balance in the nutrients acquired through a vegan diet by talking to an expert.
- Heart health
Low-fat components in a vegan diet considerably reduce blood sugar and low-density lipoproteins cholesterol in your blood, thus proving highly beneficial for reducing blood pressure and improving heart health in diabetes. It also reduces the risk of heart disease in newly diagnosed cases of diabetes.
- Other Complications in diabetes
For those of you who suffer from neuropathy due to diabetes, a vegan diet may help alleviate symptoms. This can also be beneficial for arthritic pain and discomfort. The energy levels of those on a vegan diet are reported to be higher, thus reducing fatigue due to arthritis and neuropathy pain.
If you’re looking to have the beneficial effects of a vegan diet work for you, here’s a quick vegan recipe list for individuals with diabetes that may help get normal blood sugar levels for adults.
- Stir fry cauliflower with peanuts
Chop cauliflower and mix it with some peanuts. Stir fry with some spices of your choice in a pan. This wholesome mix proves a real energy booster.
- Chickpea (chole) curry with rice or chapati
Boil some chickpeas and your choice of vegetables. Add spices to the boiled chickpeas and veggies in a pan. Cook until there is a thick gravy. You can have it with rice or chapati.
- Stuffed cabbage
You can prepare a veggie stir fry mix and stuff it in some cabbage leaves. Roll it on its sides and shallow fry it to prepare a stuffed cabbage roll with some sauce like a low-calorie white sauce or a vegan cauliflower sauce.
Adopt a vegan diet with the Right Balance of Nutrients!
A vegan diet can offer a whole lot of benefits for individuals with diabetes. Along with getting your blood sugar level normal, it can also avert complications related to diabetes. A vegan diet may lack or have an excess of some nutrients which need to be balanced with the right nutrients. Talk to your diabetes specialist and a nutritionist before consuming vegan dishes for diabetes.