- Animal products are believed to be
mainly linked to heart disease and insulin resistance.
- Vegan diet, which contains no
animal products at all and is relatively low in saturated fats is reported
to lower the levels of HbA1c.
- A vegan diet is recommended for
type 2 diabetic patients for effective glycemic control.
It takes a lot of planning to chalk out an optimal
diet for a
to try and limit the amount of carbohydrate and keep the
blood glucose levels in check. A well-balanced diet would tend to decrease the
risk of diabetes in obese and pre-diabetic individuals.
Few studies have demonstrated that diets high in meat
and fatty foods could cause an increase in insulin resistance. A vegan diet
does not include animal products and has been suggested to be clinically
beneficial in effective diabetes management.
‘Type 2 diabetic patients have to take extra care to make sure that their diet is well balanced along with pharmacotherapy and exercise to keep their blood sugar levels under control.’
Study - Why Asians?
Asians are believed to consume more of plant-based
items such as rice, vegetables and fruits as compared to people from Western
countries. A randomized clinical trial (RCT) was conducted among the Asian
population, particularly Korean patients with type 2
(T2D) to determine the effect of a vegan diet on glycemic
control and other cardiovascular risk factors and compare its effect against
conventional diabetic diet.
- The study
group included participants with T2D between the ages of 30 to 70 years
and were randomly divided into two groups.
- The experimental group included 46
participants. They were instructed to follow a vegan diet (avoiding all
animal-based food including meat, fish and eggs). They were asked to
include unpolished rice (brown rice) and avoid polished rice (white rice)
as well as processed food in their diet. Low-glycemic index foods such as legumes and
green vegetables were also allowed in their diet.
- The 47
participants in the control group
were assigned a conventional diet recommended by the Korean Diabetes
Association 2011 for 12 weeks.
were instructed to restrict their calorie intake based on their body
weight and physical activity amongst other parameters.
- The participants were asked to maintain their
normal level of physical activity and to continue their current
examinations and laboratory measurements such as blood glucose, HbA1c
levels, total cholesterol and triglycerides amongst others were
measured at baseline and then at 4, and 12 weeks.
primary study endpoint was considered as the change in HbA1c levels over
- The mean
HbA1c levels at 0, 4 and 12 weeks were reported to be 7.7%, 7.2% and 7.1%
in the vegan group, and 7.4%, 7.2%, and 7.2% in the conventional group,
respectively; thus both groups showed significant reductions in HbA1c
levels, however the
reductions were larger in the vegan group than in the conventional group
analyses were done participants with high compliance, the difference in
HbA1c level reduction between the groups was found to be larger (-0.9% in
vegan group vs. -0.3% in conventional group). The beneficial effect of
vegan diets was noted even after adjusting for energy intake or waist
circumference over the entire duration of the study.
average energy intake was reported to be 1,496 kcal/day in the vegan diet
group and 1,559 kcal/day in the conventional diet group for the period of
12 weeks and the difference was reported to be significant.
was reported to be better in the conventional diet group than in the vegan
reduction in body mass index (BMI) and waist
circumference were seen only in the vegan diet group. However, there were
no significant differences in the changes in systolic blood pressure
(SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), low density lipoprotein
(LDL)-cholesterol level and high density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol
level in both the groups.
diets may offer health benefits associated with cardiovascular risk
factors such as serum lipids and blood pressure as compared to other
omnivorous diets (diets that include both plant and animal-based foods).
though both diets led to reductions in HbA1c levels, vegan diet was found
to be more effective for glycemic control for type 2 diabetic patients
when compared to conventional diabetes diet.
- Since the
compliance factor was relatively lower in the vegan diet group as compared
to the conventional group, the authors feel that it is not realistic to
recommend vegan diets to all T2D patients.
dietary guidelines for patients with T2D should include a vegan diet for
the better management and treatment, especially for those patients who are
strongly motivated to follow a vegan diet.
duration of the study was only for 12 weeks. Hence further studies are
needed to evaluate the long-term effects of vegan diet on glycemic
study mainly used telephone consultations as opposed to some other
intensive approaches like weekly or biweekly group meetings used by
previously conducted trials on diet intervention. This could be one of the
reasons for poor compliance.
- Most of
the study participants were women since men were difficult to recruit.
There is a high possibility that effects of vegan diet could differ
according to gender.
- The study
did not conclusively prove whether the improvement in glycemic control
through vegan diets would lead to a reduction in the risks of macro- or
microvascular complications of diabetes.
- Effect of a Brown Rice Based Vegan Diet and Conventional Diabetic Diet on Glycemic Control of Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A 12-Week Randomized Clinical Trial - (http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0155918)