My absolute favorite quote -and the impetus for creating my blog and subsequent nonprofit organization, Plant Food ROCKS – is from Hippocrates, the founder of western medicine. He said, “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.”
Countless studies have affirmed that statement time and time again. None give me as much encouragement as those that prove how feasible it is to prevent and reverse diabetes through diet. In particular, a diet that limits or eliminates red meat.
Like most of you, I have been affected by this disease. I have members of my family and close friends who are diagnosed with diabetes. I also know quite a few people who are pre-diabetic.
This insidious disease has really challenged and inspired me to research ways I can help. Aside from the prevention of cancer, this is the single most important issue to me in my business as a Health Coach. The devastation that diabetes has inflicted upon my family inspired me to pursue this profession. I believe wholeheartedly that it can be changed through diet, and it’s exciting to have solid evidence to validate my beliefs.
The following reasons indicate why every person should be committed to curing diabetes and incorporating more plants into their diets.
1. 30 million children and adults in the U.S. have diabetes, of which 1 in 4 people are un-diagnosed; Also, more than 84 million US adults have pre-diabetes and among them, 90% don’t know it.
2. In 2017, diabetes cost the U.S. a total of $327 billion. Of that amount, $237 billion was in direct medical costs, $90 billion in reduced productivity.
3. Dietary changes can enable diabetics to get off their medications. An article published by Harvard Medical School cites findings from a study that links a healthy lifestyle to preventing and reversing diabetes. The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), a large, long-term study, asked the question: we know an unhealthy diet and lifestyle can cause type 2 diabetes, but can adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle prevent it?
They found the answer is yes!
Researchers from the DPP took people at risk for type 2 diabetes and gave them a 24-week diet and lifestyle intervention, a medication (metformin), or placebo (a fake pill), to see if anything could lower their risk for developing diabetes. The very comprehensive diet and lifestyle intervention had the goal of changing participants’ daily habits.
After three years, the diet and lifestyle group had a 58% lower risk of developing diabetes than the placebo group. Participants aged 60 and older had an even better response, with a 71% lower risk of developing diabetes. The diet and lifestyle effect lasted: even after 10 years, those folks had a 34% lower risk of developing diabetes compared to placebo.
4. Diabetes can be REVERSED through diet changes. A dramatic diet change (protein shake, low glycemic load, plant-based low-calorie diet, but no exercise) in diabetics reversed most features of diabetes within one week and all features by eight weeks.
There is one final point of clarification I’d like to emphasize. No single food causes disease. Disease is a consequence of a combination of unhealthy behaviors and lifestyle habits.
So, I hope this information reminds you that a diagnosis of pre-diabetes or diabetes doesn’t have to be a life sentence of endless medications and injections of insulin. Instead, there is hope and there are practical solutions – solutions that begin at the end of your fork.
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