Plant-based Foods to Treat Type-2 Diabetes?
Updated: Feb 22
In this video I read aloud from Dr Greger's book titled 'How Not to Die' from a chapter titled 'How Not to Die From Diabetes' on pages 102-3;117. Below is a transcription from the excerpt I read.
- Type 2 diabetics were placed on a plant-based diet and half of the study subjects no longer needed insulin injections. Some of the subjects had been type 2 diabetics for multiple decades and had been injecting up to 20 units of insulin per day.
This was accomplished over only a 16 period
- Conclusion: Eating a plant-based diet seems to be an obvious choice for anybody who is a type 2 diabetic. However you can't patent the likes of broccoli (or any fruit and vegetable -- obviously) so it remains an under-discussed cure since you can't profit as much from plants. Additionally, only about 25% of doctors take a single course on nutrition during their time in Medical school.
The hallmark of type two diabetes is insulin resistance in your muscles. As we've learned insulin normally enables blood sugar to enter the self. But when the cells are resistant and don't respond to insulin as they should, it can lead to dangerous levels of sugar remaining in the bloodstream.
What causes insulin resistance in the first place?
Studies dating back nearly a century nodi striking finding in 1927, researchers divided healthy young medical students into multiple groups to test out the effects of different diets. Some were given a fat rich diet composed of olive oil, butter, egg yolks, and cream sound very healthy. Others were given a carbohydrate rich diet of sugar, candy, pastry, white bread, baked potatoes, syrup, bananas, rice and oatmeal. Surprisingly, insulin resistance skyrocketed in the fat rich diet group, their blood sugar levels doubled in response to a sugar challenge far more than those on the sugar and starch stack.
To understand the role that we must first understand how the body stores fuel. When athletes talk about carb loading before a competition, they're referring to the need to build a fuel supply in their muscles. carb loading is a more extreme version of what you do every day, your digestive system breaks down and starts to eat into glucose, which enters your circulatory system as blood sugar and then is stored in your muscles to be used as energy as needed.
Blood Sugar though, is a little bit like a vampire, it needs an invitation to come into yourself. And that invitation is insulin, the key that unlocks the front door of your muscle cells so glucose can enter. When insulin attaches to insulin receptors on a cell, it activates a series of enzymes to escort in the glucose. Without insulin, blood glucose is stuck out in the bloodstream, banging on yourself front or unable to enter. blood sugar levels then rise, damaging vital organs in the process. In type one diabetes, the body destroys the insulin producing beta cells of the pancreas. So very little insulin is present to let blood sugar enter your cells. But with type two diabetes, insulin production isn't the problem. The key is there, but something that has gummed up the block. This is called insulin resistance, your muscle cells become resistant to the effect of insulin.
So what's jamming up the door locks on your muscle cells, preventing insulin from letting glucose enter? Fat -- more specifically, intramyocellular lipid, the fat inside your muscle cells.
Fat in your bloodstream, either from your own fat stores or diet can build up inside your muscle cells, where it can create toxic breakdown products and free radicals that block the insulin signaling process. No matter how much insulin you produce your fat compromised muscle cells can effectively use it.
To prove plant-based diets could actually improve diabetes independent of weight loss, researchers would need to design a study in which they switch people to a healthy diet that forced them to eat so much that they didn't lose any weight.
Just such a study was published more than 35 years ago. Type 2 diabetics were placed on a on a plant-based diet and weighed every day. If they started losing any weight, they were made to eat more food -- so much that some of the participants, someone said some of the participants actually had trouble eating at all! The result: Even with no weight loss, subjects on a plant-based diet saw their insulin requirements cut by about 60%, meaning the amount of insulin these diabetics had to inject dropped by more than half. Furthermore, half of the diabetics were able to get off insulin altogether, despite no change in body weight, just by eating a healthier diet.
This wasn't over the course of months or years either. This was after eating a plant-based diet for an average of only 16 days. Some of the subjects had been diabetic for two decades and had been injecting 20 units of insulin a day. Yet within two weeks of eating a plant-based diet, they were off insulin altogether. One patient was on 32 units of insulin per day at the onset of the study. After 18 days, his blood sugar levels plummeted so low that insulin injections were no longer necessary. Even at approximately the same body weight. He had lower blood sugars on a plant based diet using no insulin than when he had been on a regular diet using 32 units of insulin daily. That's the power of plants.
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