Going green: How vegan and vegetarian diets help in diabetes and save our planet

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Introduction to Diets and Diabetes

You know how sometimes you’re told to eat your greens, right? But did you know that certain diets full of plants could help people with a particular health problem?

That problem is called diabetes, a condition where your body can’t control sugar levels in your blood properly.

There are all kinds of diets out there. Today, we’ll talk about two types: vegan and vegetarian diets. Vegan means eating only plant-based foods, with no meat, dairy, or eggs.

Vegetarian usually means no meat but includes dairy and eggs.

What’s the Problem with Diabetes?

Diabetes is a tricky disease. It’s like a naughty kid who keeps misbehaving inside your body.

The sugar in your blood is important for your body to work well, but too much can cause serious issues, like heart problems or even loss of vision.

Diets to the Rescue!

Here’s where our special diets come in. Some researchers thought, “Hey, if meat-based diets with fewer carbohydrates can help in diabetes, what about plant-based diets with fewer carbohydrates?

Could they help too? And could they be even better for the Earth?” So, they decided to put these diets to the test!

The Test: Vegan Vs. Vegetarian

In this study, 164 adults with diabetes were asked to try two different diets. Half of them went on a low-carbohydrate vegan diet, where they ate lots of plant proteins and canola oil.

The other half went on a moderate-carbohydrate vegetarian diet. Both groups were asked to eat only 60% of the usual calories they consumed every day.

Over three months, researchers kept an eye on them.

They checked their weight, tested their blood, and even looked at what they ate to guess how much greenhouse gas their diet might produce. Greenhouse gases are the bad guys causing climate change.

Amazing Results!

After three months, guess what? Both diets were winners! Both the vegan and vegetarian groups lost lots of weight – around 5-6 kilograms.

This is almost like losing the weight of a big, fat watermelon!

Their blood tests also improved. They showed a lower amount of something called ‘glycated hemoglobin’.

This might sound like a mouthful, but it’s just a fancy way of saying the amount of sugar attached to your red blood cells. Less of it means better control over diabetes.

Their blood pressure, which is like the force your heart uses to pump blood, also went down. That’s good because high blood pressure can cause other health problems.

Extra Bonus: Saving the Planet!

The coolest part? The vegan diet was better for the Earth! It reduced greenhouse gas emissions more than the vegetarian diet.

Imagine that: you’re not only helping yourself by eating healthier but also helping the planet.

Final Thoughts

So, what do we learn? Eating more plant-based foods, whether as part of a vegan or vegetarian diet, can help people with diabetes.

It helps them lose weight, control their blood sugar, and lower their blood pressure. And remember, the vegan diet is like a superhero for our planet, reducing harmful greenhouse gases.

Stay curious, keep learning, and don’t forget to eat your greens!

The study was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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