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Diet Rich in Plant Proteins May Prevent Diabetes

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By    |   Wednesday, 10 May 2017 03:27 PM

A plant-based high-protein diet may reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Eastern Finland. That's good news for the more than 29 million people in the United States who are affected by the disease.

The new research, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, joins a growing body of evidence that suggests too much animal protein, as well as carbs, contributes to diabetes.

Jyrki Virtanen, a certified clinical nutritionist and researcher on the study, found that high plant protein intake decreased the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 35 percent.

Conversely, the study found individuals who followed diets that included high levels of all types of meat, including processed and unprocessed red meat and white meat, had an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Plants that are high in protein include lentils, quinoia, nuts, (almonds, walnuts, cashews, and pistachios), seeds (chia, sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin), beans, and legumes.

The researchers caution that it may be other compounds found in meat other than protein that up the risk of developing diabetes.

Male study participants who ingested the highest amount of plant protein were more than one-third less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than men who ate the lowest amount of plant protein.

Virtanen and his team estimate that replacing just 5 grams of animal protein with a plant protein a day may cut the risk of diabetes by 18 percent.

Virtanen says the link may be explained by the effect of plant protein on blood glucose levels. Study participants who consumed more plant protein had lower blood glucose levels. Researchers also discovered that a higher intake of egg protein also lowered the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Marc Ramirez, a Texas native, says he reversed his Type 2 diabetes with a plant-based diet.

“I now follow three basic guidelines: I eat no animal products, I eat low-fat foods, and I avoid high-glycemic [sugary] foods,” Ramirez says.

Ramirez says that he was off all of his medications in less than two months and has been medicine-free for over three years. He says he now weighs 207 pounds and is now no longer considered diabetic.

For those already diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, regular physical activity, healthy eating, and taking medications to lower blood glucose levels are all imperative for overall health, experts say.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, healthy eating should focus on a variety of food groups.

Experts recommend:

  • Non-starchy vegetables should be about half of your plate, while grains or another starch on one fourth of the plate. The remaining quarter of your plate should be lean meat (such as poultry) or plant protein.
  • Be aware that, if you have diabetes, various food types can affect your blood sugar levels. High-carb and sugary foods can cause your blood sugar to spike.
  • Keep in mind the impact of sweetened beverages. You should avoid or limit drinks that are full of sugar or high fructose corn syrup, as they will cause your blood sugar to rise quickly.
  • It’s also important to coordinate your meals and medications. Too little food may result in dangerously low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia. Too much food may cause blood sugar levels to climb too high and cause hyperglycemia.
  • Regular physical activity is also an important part in managing diabetes. When you exercise, your muscles use sugar for energy. Regular exercise also helps your body use insulin more effectively and lower your blood sugar levels. Remember to check your blood sugar level before, during and after exercise, especially if you take insulin. Drink plenty of water and keep a small snack with you while exercising.

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Diabetes
Medication isn’t the only way to control diabetes. A plant-based diet may reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to a new study by Finnish researchers. That's good news for the more than 29 million Americans affected by the disease.
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2017-27-10
Wednesday, 10 May 2017 03:27 PM
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