Type 2 diabetes can be a ‘devastating diagnosis’ says expert
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Doctor Sundhya Raman revealed the “most effective” diet to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and thereby the dire complications of the condition. “Studies suggest that poor diets have overtaken tobacco as the number one driver of chronic diseases,” Doctor Raman pointed out. “So, while diet isn't the only factor affecting our disease risk, it seems that our kitchens are the best place to start if we want to improve our health.”
It’s for this reason that Doctor Raman suggests a “whole food plant-based diet”.
“Those who eat a whole foods plant-based diet have the lowest rates of chronic diseases, such as diabetes,” Doctor Raman explained.
“One study, including over 60,000 people, found that the diabetes rates among a vegan dietary group was up to 60 percent lower compared with the omnivores in the study,” the doctor noted.
This was after factors such as body mass index (BMI), physical activity, alcohol intake, sleep, education and income were all taken into account.
Diabetes type 2: How could you minimise your risk? (Image: Getty)
“We also found that the more plant based the dietary pattern, the lower the average BMI,” Doctor Raman highlighted.
“We know that a high BMI is an important risk factor for developing diabetes and other health problems.”
Those adhering to a plant-based diet, however, must ensure that their dietary choices do not contain a lot of refined carbohydrates or processed foods.
“In this situation they don't gain the benefits of a plant-based diet,” Doctor Raman added.
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Type 2 diabetes: The condition explained (Image: Express)
How a plant-based diet could reduce your diabetes risk
“Even the most calorific plant foods – nuts, seeds and avocados – are shown in studies to be associated with weight loss alongside protection from chronic health conditions such as diabetes,” said Doctor Raman.
“We think that the unique fact that these foods are high in both protein and high in fibre means that people feel full on fewer calories overall.”
Fibre-rich foods can also “regulate the way we metabolise sugars and fats”.
Doctor Raman elaborated: “Soluble fibre swells up into a jelly-like substance in our stomach so it makes us feel full.
“And it slows the rate at which carbohydrates are absorbed into our bloodstream.”
Both these factors help people to maintain a healthy weight and optimises blood sugar levels.
A plant-based diet, rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals, can also help to curb inflammation in the body.
Inflammation has been said to increase the risk of insulin resistance, which would lead to diabetes.
Diabetes: The symptoms (Image: Express)
Diets high in saturated fat, for example, are more likely to lead to higher levels of endotoxins in the gut.
Doctor Raman explained: “These endotoxins pass through our gut wall and drive inflammation.
“Saturated fats are found in dairy, meat and eggs, as well as tropical oils such as palm oil and coconut oil.”
Doctor Sundhya Raman is the Medical Doctor and Lifestyle Medicine Physician at Plant Based Health Professionals UK.
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