A vegan diet is only based on plant products, such as vegetables, grains, nuts, and fruits. Vegans don’t consume any animal-based foods like dairy products and eggs. Following a vegetarian or vegan diet is not going to cure your diabetes magically, but it might help you improve your condition and offer many benefits over a non-vegan diet. However, you should learn more about the potential benefits of veganism for people with type 2 diabetes it and decide if you want to follow it or not.
Pros and cons of a vegan diet for type 2 diabetes:
Veganism may provide many benefits for you if you have type 2 diabetes, but also can give you some trouble if you’re not careful.
The pros of a vegan diet for type 2 diabetes:
- There’s less of a risk you’ll spike your blood sugar when you eat plant-based foods.
- Vegan diets are often lower in calories, which can help in maintaining a healthy weight, which improves blood sugar control and reduces the risks of diabetes complications.
- Eating plant-based foods improves blood sugar control and insulin response.
- A vegan diet reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease, of which people with type 2 diabetes are at a higher risk than people without diabetes.
- Vegan diets are lower in cholesterol, low in saturated fat and usually high in soluble fiber.
- Vegan diets are generally rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants, which is good for your health.
The cons of a vegan diet for type 2 diabetes:
- Vegan diets can have adverse effects on blood sugar if it is rich in simple carbohydrates.
- Potential vitamin and mineral loss: they can provide a risk of nutritional deficiencies, such as calcium, zinc, vitamins B12, riboflavin, and D, so you may need to focus on certain foods, or take supplements.
- You can’t load your diet just full of starches or carbohydrates, because they’ll impact your blood sugar the most, it’s important to consume enough protein and some healthy fats.
- Vegan diets can represent a lack of protein since vegans forego typical protein sources like meat and eggs, they have to incorporate it through different means.
How to follow a vegan diet if you have type 2 diabetes
- A vegan diet is healthy and safe if you have diabetes, but it’s important for you to focus on nutrient-dense foods and to monitor your blood sugar levels frequently.
- Consult a certified diabetes educator to help guide you.
- Don’t consume any overly-processed meat substitutes, because these can be packed with sodium and preservatives.
- Watch your portion sizes and your carbohydrate intake, and always read labels.
- Beans, leafy greens, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, kale, quinoa, dried apricots, dried figs, raisins, and fortified breakfast cereals are good iron sources
- Best sources of vitamin C are kiwi, oranges, broccoli, strawberries, pineapple, or bell peppers.
- It’s important to have a good source of healthy fats in your diet, such as olive, canola, or avocado oil, and polyunsaturated fats, like sunflower, safflower, or sesame oil.
- Avoid oils that contain saturated fats,
- French fries and cupcakes can be vegan but both still have high sugars levels and a high number of carbs, so the most important is to follow a well-planned, well-balanced, and nutritious vegan diet.
Going vegan can change your life and improve your health, but it doesn’t mean it’s the only option, it’s your decision to make this big change!
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