More than 30 million adults in the United States have diabetes, and about 85 million more have prediabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.
Of those 85 million adults on their way to developing the full-blown disease, 90 percent of them are unaware of their danger.
New research papers point to the benefits of a plant-based diet to prevent diabetes and suggest strictly limiting animal products, particularly red meat and processed meat. The studies stress the importance of diet in keeping the colon healthy, as reported by the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study.
That study revealed that folks who eat a high-fiber diet had more of an anti-inflammatory chemical in their blood called indolepropionic acid which is made by gut bacteria and reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
In one study, published in mSphere, a journal dedicated to microbial science, researchers found that eating lots of fiber from plants can lower blood sugar levels by changing the bacteria in your colon. In this study, feeding mice large amounts of plant starches and fibers along with a high fiber additive that slowed the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, reduced the rise in blood sugar after meals and increased the growth of healthful bacteria in the colon.
In another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open, researchers proved they could predict which people will develop diabetes by the type of bacteria in their colon more accurately than measuring the amount of refined carbohydrates and calories they eat.
In a third study, a group of 279 vegetarians had lower fasting insulin and higher insulin sensitivity compared to a matched group of omnivores, according to a report in Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases. High insulin levels and low insulin sensitivity are markers of pre-diabetes.
“These studies support the many earlier studies that have shown that people who eat diets high in plant fiber, and low in animal saturated fats and animal protein are far less likely to suffer from diabetes, heart disease and premature death,” reports Dr. Gabe Mirkin, author of “The Healthy Heart Miracle,” in his Fitness and Health E-Zine.
“Soluble fiber found in fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole gains is made up of chains of sugar molecules that cannot be broken down by human enzymes,” he explains. “Soluble fiber passes into the colon where it fosters the growth of good bacteria which in turn converts the soluble fiber into compounds that decrease the activity of an overactive immune system and lower high blood sugar and cholesterol levels.”
In fact, metformin, the most prescribed diabetic drug in the world, also lowers high blood sugar levels by raising the levels of good bacteria in the colon.
“Because high blood sugar levels can damage every cell of your body, I think virtually everyone should follow a diet that helps keep blood sugar levels stable,” says Mirkin.
- Eating vegetables, nuts and other unprocessed plant foods that are full of the fiber that prevents diabetes
- Limiting or avoiding red meat and other animal products
- Limiting or avoiding processed plant foods, particularly foods and drinks with added sugars and foods made from flour such as bread, pasta, many dry breakfast cereals and so forth.
- High blood sugar levels can also be reduced by exercising and losing excess weight.
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