WFPB Health Benefits: The Power of a WFPB Diet to Prevent and Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

Published February 25th, 2020 by Sarah Goodenough

WFPB Health Benefits: The Power of a WFPB Diet to Prevent and Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

Now that we’ve examined the positive impact a whole food, plant-based diet has on preventing and even reversing heart disease, let’s examine its effects on Type 2 Diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes- An Epidemic

Type 2 Diabetes has been growing in the United States at an alarming rate, with 34.2 MILLION people currently diagnosed. This includes approximately 210,000 children and adolescents under the age of 20. Chances are you may know someone with diabetes, and THEY may not even know it yet. Approximately 7.3 MILLION people have diabetes, and have not been diagnosed yet. It is a disease that begins its destruction long before we detect it. Diabetes can also lead to complications such as blindness, poor circulation to extremities leading to infections and more frequently than you may think, amputations. Diabetes is the  leading cause of blindness in adults. It can be a devastating disease, but it doesn't have to be this way! Diabetes is preventable and even reversible in many cases. Understanding the cause is the first step in taking control of your health.

What Causes Diabetes? 

Type 2 diabetes is characterized by defects in both insulin secretion and insulin action. In other words, the pancreas either does not secrete any or enough insulin to bring blood sugar down, and the insulin secreted isn't functioning properly. There is a genetic component to the likelihood of one developing diabetes, but research has pointed to saturated fat as the biggest contributor to its development. Saturated fat is toxic to the pancreas. Within hours of consuming a meal high in saturated fat, insulin resistance can be found! Especially when we are talking about animal based saturated fats, which also carry inflammatory chemicals and harmful toxins along with it. Eating just a single egg A WEEK appeared to increase the odds of diabetes by 76%. Two eggs a week appeared to double the odds, and just a single egg a day tripled the odds. After time goes by, these pancreatic cells become more damaged and defective, leading to the diagnosis and progression of Type 2 Diabetes. As diabetes progresses, so does the associated peripheral artery disease (PAD). Peripheral Artery Disease causes blood vessels to weaken and narrow and reduces blood flow to your extremities, especially legs and feet. PAD can also lead to diabetic retinopathy which leads to blindness from the blood vessels behind the eyes becoming broken and leaky. PAD can lead to the impaired ability to heal, because there is poor circulation of blood flow to the lower extremities. This often leads to amputation and more infection risk. 

Prescription drugs, insulin and dangerous surgeries have long been prescribed to manage the symptoms and complications associated with diabetes, but they are extremely expensive and can lead to infection and further complications. The medical community has long prescribed dietary changes with diabetes as well, but for many years, this was focused on reducing intake of sugar, leading many to believe that sugar was the culprit, when all along it was saturated fat. 

So is Diabetes Preventable? Reversible?

By cutting down on saturated fat consumption we may be able to help interrupt this debilitating process. The effect of reducing dietary saturated fat intake on insulin levels is substantial. 

Plant-Based diets can prevent and even in some cases, reverse diabetes. In a pilot study done on diabetic men and women sticking to a plant-based diet for seven months, Hemoglobin A1C, which is considered the best measure of blood sugar control, was measured before, during and after. After about seven months, their average A1C dropped from a diabetic 8.2 down to a non-diabetic 5.8. The majority dropped down to normal, and this is after dropping most of their medications. People placed on plant-based diets can see LDL cholesterol come down so much it can actually reverse the atherosclerosis progression, and reverse the progression of diabetes and heart disease.

As always, If you have diabetes or diabetic risk factors, or if you are on any medications, always check with your doctor before making any dietary or lifestyle changes! (We make great food, but we don’t provide medical advice!) However, under medical supervision, a decrease in saturated fat intake, as well as a move toward a WFPB lifestyle should help you prevent, treat and even reverse diabetes! Excited to get started but need some assistance? Order here from our weekly menu, and check out our free recipes! Here’s to happy and healthy WFPB living!

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