Thursday, September 8, 2016


Have you heard the term “whole foods plant-based diet (WFPB)?”  What about “vegan” or “vegetarian?”  If you have, you likely had to pause for a second and think about what WFPB means. 

A whole foods, plant-based diet is an extremely nutrient rich version of a vegan diet that is followed for personal health rather than animal rights (usually), though this eating pattern certainly does have beneficial effects on animals and the environment. 

A person following a WFPB diet would strive to eat primarily whole plant foods that have been minimally processed and remain intact and rich in nutrients.  It includes all vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils, seeds, whole grains and nuts, while excluding refined and processed foods as well as animal-derived foods.

A vegan diet is one that simply excludes any foods that came from an animal, such as beef, chicken, pork, milk, cheese and eggs.  Some vegans even exclude gelatin and honey and do not wear leather or fur.  Their cause is more focused on animal welfare.

Did you know that Oreos are vegan?  They are.  Soda?  Yes.  But, foods like this are clearly not nutrient-rich, nor are they whole, intact foods.  A person following the WFPB way of eating would not consume these food products due to the fact they are highly processed and nutrient poor.  A vegan might still consume these.  This is an example of how a vegan diet might differ from a WFPB diet.
The research on nutrition makes it very clear that the more plant foods we eat, the healthier we are in nearly every way.  After completing an analysis of the research done on diet and overall health, these researchers concluded:
“The aggregation of evidence in support …is noteworthy for its breadth, depth, diversity of methods, and consistency of findings. The case that we should, indeed, eat true food, mostly plants, is all but incontrovertible.” [KATZ 2014]

And, it is clear that eating a diet that is made up of primarily whole plant foods can prevent or reverse diabetes (and heart disease, arthritis, and many more).  Even the researchers at Harvard and the Joslin Diabetes Center agree that a WFPB diet is a good idea.

“Diets rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, moderate in alcohol consumption, and lower in refined grains, red/processed meats, and sugar-sweetened beverages have demonstrated to reduce diabetes risk and improve glycemic control and blood lipids in patients with diabetes.”  
The evidence suggests eating animal-derived foods increases diabetes risk:
·      Eating a single, deck-of-cards-sized piece of meat each day increases diabetes risk by 19%, according to research from Harvard.
·      Eating processed meat – as little as 1 hot dog or 2 slices of bacon per day- increases your risk of diabetes by 51%.
·      Diabetes risk is even higher with poultry intake than with processed meat.
·      Meat is the major source of AGEs, which cause oxidative stress and inflammation, and are important in the development of diabetes.
·      Intake of animal protein causes burnout of the insulin producing cells of the pancreas.
·      The diabetes epidemic has also been correlated to environmental pollutants, with 95% of our persistent pollutant intake coming from animal fat.
·      Individuals who eat more legumes have a much lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

Curious about what to eat to prevent disease?  Download the free Meal Plan  or  Subscribe to the blog and get notified when my next post is published.  
You might also enjoy  Top 5 Plant-BasedFoods for Diabetes Prevention.

What step will you take today for your health?  Share below or join me over in the group!
Our study suggests that plant-based diets, especially when rich in high-quality plant foods, are associated with substantially lower risk of developing T2D. This supports current recommendations to shift to diets rich in healthy plant foods, with lower intake of less healthy plant and animal foods.” [SATIJA 2016]
Diets rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, moderate in alcohol consumption, and lower in refined grains, red/processed meats, and sugar-sweetened beverages have demonstrated to reduce diabetes risk and improve glycemic control and blood lipids in patients with diabetes.”  [LEY 2016] – JOSLIN DM CENTER AND HARVARD
Overall, the results indicate that replacing sources of animal with plant protein leads to modest improvements in glycemic control in individuals with diabetes.” [VIGUILIOUK] 
“Consumption of legumes, soybeans in particular, was inversely associated with the risk type 2 DM.” [VILLEGAS 2008]

In this Buddhist population consuming a plant-based diet with little meat and fish, true vegetarians who completely avoid animal flesh, while eating more soy, vegetables, nuts and whole grain, have lower odds for IFG and diabetes, after accounting for various confounders, risk factors, and BMI.” [CHIU 2014)

“The aggregation of evidence in support …is noteworthy for its breadth, depth, diversity of methods, and consistency of findings. The case that we should, indeed, eat true food, mostly plants, is all but incontrovertible.” [KATZ 2014]

Tonstad S, Butler T, Yan R, Fraser G. Type of vegetarian diet, body weight and prevalence of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2009;32:791–6.

Van Dam RM, Rimm EB, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ, Hu FB. Dietary patterns and risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus in U.S. men. Ann Intern Med. 2004;136:201–9.

Tonstad S, Stewart K, Oda K, Batech M, Herring RP, Fraser GE. Vegetarian diets and incidence of diabetes in the Adventist Health Study-2. Nutrition, metabolism, and cardiovascular diseases : NMCD. 2013;23(4):292-299.

Kaushik M, Mozaffarian D, Spiegelman D, Manson JE, Willett WC, Hu FB. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, fish intake, and the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;90:613–20.

Villegas R, Gao YT, Yang G, Li HL, Elasy TA, Zheng W, et al. Legume and soy food intake and the incidence of type 2 diabetes in the Shanghai Women's Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;87:162-7.

Katz DL, Meller M.  Can We Say What Diet Is Best for Health?  Annual Review of Public Health.  2014; (35)83-103.

Satija A, Bhupathiraju SN, Rimm EB, Spiegelman D, Chiuve SE, Borgi L, et al. (2016)
Plant-Based Dietary Patterns and Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in US Men and Women: Results from Three Prospective Cohort Studies. PLoS Med 13(6)

Ley SH, Hamdy O, Mohan V, Hu FB. Prevention and Management of Type 2 Diabetes: Dietary Components and Nutritional Strategies. Lancet (London, England). 2014;383(9933):1999-2007.

Viguiliouk, Effie et al. “Effect of Replacing Animal Protein with Plant Protein on Glycemic Control in Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” Nutrients 7.12 (2015): 9804–9824. PMC. Web. 3 Sept. 2016.

Chiu THT, Huang H-Y, Chiu Y-F, Pan W-H, Kao H-Y, Chiu JPC, et al. (2014) Taiwanese Vegetarians and Omnivores: Dietary Composition, Prevalence of Diabetes and IFG. PLoS ONE 9(2): e88547

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Top 3 Reasons Diabetes is Everyone's Problem, and How To Prevent It

What is the best way to prevent type 2 diabetes?  The research overwhelmingly points in one direction, and Michael Pollan, author or “Omnivore’s Dilemma” summed it up perfectly in his famous 7 words: 
“Eat Food.  Not too much.  Mostly Plants.”

Why should you care about type 2 diabetes and the best diet for preventing or reversing it?   Because your life and quality of life could depend on it. 

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Medical bills, frequent doctor visits, daily finger sticks, shots, pills, heart attacks, amputations, dialysis, blindness - these are just some of the things diabetes can fill your life with. 

If only we knew how to prevent diabetes! We would have the freedom to live our lives as we wish, doing what we're passionate about, spending our savings on fun stuff instead of medical stuff.  Spending our days with our children, lovers, grandchildren, friends, golf buddies and fellow travelers.  

Diabetes takes that freedom from too many of us. 

Fortunately, the research is pretty clear on how to prevent diabetes.  With the right food, modest weight loss, and a little bit of exercise – 150 minutes of walking per week- you have the best chances of preventing it.  This is based on a decade of research done by the NIH, the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). 

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Here is why diabetes is everyone’s problem.

Diabetes Becomes More Common Each Year
The number of adults suffering from type 2 diabetes in the US is astounding, and it has gotten consistently worse in the last 20 years.  The reasons are most likely our inactivity,  consumption of massive amounts of calorically dense, low nutrient foods  [AKA the Standard American Diet – SAD], and our ever expanding waistlines.

·      As of 2012, 29.1 million Americans over the age of 20 have type 2 diabetes.
·      That means almost 1 out of every 10 Americans currently has diabetes.  And, sadly, those odds keep increasing.
·      86 million Americans have prediabetes.
·      If you have diabetes, your chance of dying prematurely is 1.5 times higher than if you didn’t.

Diabetes Costs Billions (get the CDC's Report here free)

·      Diabetes costs us $245 BILLION every year which is almost doubling in 5 years
·      As an individual with diabetes, you will spend nearly $2,000 per year out of pocket ($13K plus if you don’t have good insurance)

For more statistics on the costs of diabetes, check out the free report from CDC.
Free Report
Diabetes Can Ruin Your Quality of Life and Send You to an Early Grave
·      Today, 200 Americans will have an amputation due to diabetes.
·      Dialysis will start for 136 people today because of diabetes.
·      And nearly 250, 000 people will die this year due to diabetes.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to keep from being included in these grim statistics.

The Diabetes Prevention Program conducted a clinical trial to see whether people with prediabetes could keep from getting diabetes by following a lower fat-lower calorie diet, losing a small amount of weight and exercising just 30 min 5 days per week as compared to a group of people taking Metformin.  After 10 years of following the groups, almost none of the diet and exercise group developed diabetes.  That's a pretty powerful finding. And, the diet and exercise worked much better at preventing diabetes than the metformin, a medication that improves insulin resistance.   And, increasing the healthfulness of the diet beyond just lower fat, lower calorie gets even better results. 

You’ve got to keep your weight and BMI in the healthy range, or as close to it as possible.  And, eating a plant centered diet is the most likely way to make that happen.(see graph)
Vegetarian and vegan diets are gaining popularity among celebrities (Ellen Page, James Cromwell, Alicia Silverstone, Ariana Grande, Ellen DeGeneres, Joaquin Phoenix, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Mayim Bialik, Joan Jett, Moby, Russell Simmons, James Cameron, and Al Gore), as well as us regular people. 
But, is it just another fad diet?   
I don’t think so.  Fads are usually based on research done by just a research group or 2 worldwide, gaining popularity with the masses out of sheer desperation.   
On the other hand, research in favor of eating less meat, dairy and saturated fat while increasing intake of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds has been gaining momentum over the last 20-30 years.  
Despite the lack of funding to back research on vegetarian diet patterns, as opposed to the very well funded Beef Association and Dairy Council, the evidence irrefutably shows that the more plants and less animal-derived food you eat is the best way to increase your health and your healthy years. (see graph: less animal foods=lower BMI=less diabetes risk).
An eating pattern rich in plants reduces your risk for heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraines, breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, and the list goes on.
The first line of treatment for heart disease, prediabetes and diabetes is supposed to be “lifestyle intervention.”   
The Diabetes Prevention Program (studied by an arm of the National Institutes of Health) showed that even modest changes in eating and activity prevent prediabetes from becoming diabetes. 
There can be no doubt that food and movement are the number 1 way to increase your health and longevity.  And, the eating pattern that gives you the absolute best chances at your best health is one based primarily on whole plant foods.
As a nation, we are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, which can take away our freedom, health and life.  Stay tuned for my next post, which will outline the plant based diet in more detail!
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