With diabetes on the rise, more Americans than ever are looking for ways to treat the disease. Dr. Neal Barnard, author of Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes, tells Dr. Oz that the answer could be as simple as changing your diet.
Typically, patients diagnosed with diabetes are sent to a dietician and put on a diet that is low in carbohydrates. While this is good advice, Dr. Barnard says his research led to a better dietary approach. He says he studied populations with the lowest rates of diabetes—mainly rural Asians whose dietary staple was rice, with very little meat or dairy. Having a high-carbohydrate diet didn't cause problems, but Dr. Barnard suspects the meat and dairy-heavy American-style diet may be the bigger culprit.
To test his theory, Dr. Barnard says he put patients on a vegan diet, meaning no meat or dairy products, as well as small amounts of oils and sugar. He says that his patients lost weight, lowered their cholesterol and saw more improvement in their diabetes symptoms than with any common oral medication. "People liked it because there was no limit on calories or portions—they weren't ever hungry," he explains. Because they were eating plenty of beans, vegetables and fruit, the patients were getting a lot of fiber. "[Fiber] fills you up and tricks you into thinking you're eating as much as before, when you're actually eating maybe 10 percent less," Dr. Barnard says.
Published on August 23, 2007