What is diabetes?
Glucose (a simple sugar) is the body's mail fuel and is present in the bloodstream. People with diabetes are not able to get glucose into the cells where it is needed. Type 1 diabetes (often referred to as childhood-onset diabetes) refers to an inadequate supply of insulin (a hormone that ushers sugar into the cells of the body). An inadequate supply of insulin, keeps glucose out of cells.
The more common type of diabetes – type 2 diabetes (approx 90% of cases) occurs not due to a shortage of insulin, but due to a resistance developed by cells towards insulin. Glucose cannot get into the cells and thus backs up into the bloodstream – raising blood sugar levels.
Diabetes and diet
The traditional approach towards diabetes used to focus on limiting intake of refined sugars & foods that release sugars during digestion (limiting the amount of sugar absorbed by the body). However, the focus has increasingly shifted towards the role saturated fats play as insulin inhibitors, preventing glucose from reaching the cells where required. This shifts the focus from the symptom (too much glucose in the blood) to the cause of the problem (inability of insulin to usher glucose into a body's cells).
Saturated fats are insulin-inhibitors that prevent insulin from getting glucose into the body's cells. By minimizing the levels of saturated fats in a diet, the process of insulin supplying glucose to the cells is not impaired, helping solve the root cause of Type 2 diabetes.
Animal products contain significantly higher levels of saturated fats than vegetarian diets. By replacing animal products with more plant based products in your diet, the levels of saturated fats absorbed fall significantly, helping the proper absorption of glucose by the cells and preventing the onset of diabetes.
Scientific evidence: Diabetes and diet
Research that has been conducted on the linkage between meat, dairy and diabetes have found
- Diabetes risks increases with increased consumption of meat and dairy products
- Significant advantages for the prevention & treatment of diabetes for those following a vegan diet
- A vegan diet leads to significantly better diabetes & cardiovascular risk control, than the diet following American Diabetes Association guidelines
Details of the same (including the research methodology, key findings and a link to the original study) are available in the resource tab below.