Home Healthy Diets EXTENSION NEWS: Fight diabetes with a plant-based diet | Archives

EXTENSION NEWS: Fight diabetes with a plant-based diet | Archives


As stated by the Centers for Disease Control, within all confirmed high blood sugar cases, more than 90% have diabetes. The medical cost for patients with diabetes is twice as high as other conditions.

Did you know that plant-based diets, such as the Mediterranean diet, can help in reducing the risk of diabetes? It can also help in management of blood-sugar levels for those who have been diagnosed with type two diabetes. Research studies have shown that plant-based diets improve the overall function of the body in keeping a normal blood sugar level.

What is a plant-based diet? A plant-based diet is a diet that contains food that comes from plants and limits consumption of animal ingredients, such as meat. Plant-based foods can vary in nutrient density. Examples of healthy plant-based foods are fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and whole grains such as brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, and corn. Examples of unhealthy plant-based diets are fruit juice, sugar-sweetened beverages and desserts, and refined grains such as white rice, white bread. It is important to note that unhealthy plant-based foods that are high in simple carbohydrates and low in other nutrients. Therefore, they can increase blood sugar levels instead of helping to control them. One tip to look out for sweetened food products is to pay attention to the food label when shopping. Limit food that has high added sugar content. The amount of added sugar is listed in grams on the food label. Intake of fewer than 24 grams of added sugar per day is recommended.

A healthy plant-based diet is not only helpful in managing diabetes, but also other long-term conditions such as obesity, heart and kidney diseases. Even a modest shift away from meat could help improve your health. Eating a plant-based diet does not mean one has to omit meat from their diet. Meat can be consumed in a moderate amount. People who want to start or just get started on a plant-based eating style should avoid an unhealthy plant-based diet that has a high added sugar content because it potentially could increase their blood sugar level.

Starting a new eating pattern can be very challenging especially when you do not see the results right away. Keep in mind that a new diet pattern always takes time and patience before you see the significant changes in your health. Consult with your doctor to figure out the best type of eating style that will fit into your life. Having classes, consultations, and performing other activities with your healthcare providers are very useful in helping you eat healthier and be consistent with your diet.

North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s goal is to provide the residents of the community with research-based knowledge. For more information on food safety, wellness, and nutrition in Lee County please contact the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, Alyssa Anderson at 919-775-5624.

Anh Vo is dietetic intern with North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Lee County.

Anh Vo is dietetic intern with North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Lee County.

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