Is a Vegan/Vegetarian Diet Healthy for Diabetics?

Diet is a very important topic for all patients who are living with diabetes—whether type one, type two, or other rarer forms. While consistent advice can be found all over the web and in doctors’ offices in regards to testing blood sugar levels and the importance of taking medicine consistently, the question of what the ideal diet for a diabetic should be has some wiggle room. In addition, there are many diabetics who have health, ethical, or religious reasons for adhering to a specific diet, and want to make sure that these considerations are something that they can accommodate while managing their disease. While the question of whether to purchase an Easytouch insulin syringe or a BD ultra fine needle might be easy to sort out based on your preferences, if you are a vegetarian or vegan who has recently been diagnosed with diabetes, or if you were diagnosed previously with diabetes and are interested in partaking in a vegan or vegetarian diet for any number of reasons, you definitely want to know whether or not it’s safe for you.

 

The truth is, no one diet—save for one composed entirely of junk food—is inherently bad or inherently good for a diabetic. It is important for all diabetics to make sure they’re getting foods from all the basic food groups; while it can sometimes be challenging to get the right balance of protein from plant sources, with the popularity of vegetarian diets and vegan diets growing, plant-based proteins are more readily available than they have ever been. The important distinctions between the two diets are that vegan diets do not include any animal products of any kind, including milk and eggs. Vegetarians who consume dairy and other animal products (but not meat) are more readily able to find protein sources that are as rich as meat. Those following vegan diets must ensure that they are getting adequate vitamin D, calcium, vitamin B12, iodine and iron; in particular vitamin B12 does not exist in the plant world and must either be obtained through supplements or fortified products. All diabetics must make sure that they are monitoring their blood glucose levels as always, and keeping an adequate supply of diabetic accessories such as testing kit supplies, or syringes such as the Easytouch insulin syringe or a BD ultra fine needle if they use the vial and syringe method of insulin administration.

 

One major benefit that a vegan or a vegetarian diet can provide to a diabetic that other diets cannot is that they are typically lower in saturated fat and high in fiber, which makes them ideal for reducing the risk of heart disease. This is an excellent benefit because diabetics in general are more at risk for heart disease and strokes; vegan diets are particularly lean on fat and tend to be high in fiber. Of course, since there is an increased intake of plant foods, these diets are heavily carbohydrate-based. The amount and source of carbohydrates has an impact on how they are absorbed by the body; while you should still be careful to take the amount of carbohydrates into consideration for the purposes of your blood-glucose control, it is not inherently unhealthy. Some studies have even shown that vegan diets can be beneficial in helping patients with type 2 diabetes to lose weight and keep their glucose levels under better control. While you are buying your next supply of Easytouch insulin syringes or BD ultra fine needles, consider discussing with your doctor whether a vegetarian or vegan diet would meet your needs—both the ethical, moral, or religious needs you have, as well as your dietary needs.

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