Vegetarian Diet for Diabetics, Really Beneficial?
Maintaining intake so that blood sugar levels do not spike significantly is something that is important for diabetics to pay attention to. One diet that is considered beneficial for people with this disease is a vegetarian diet. Check out the full explanation below.
Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet for Diabetics
A vegetarian diet is a diet that only consumes fruits, vegetables and vegetable protein. The following are some of the benefits of running a vegetarian diet for diabetes, including:
1. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Vegetarian diets are usually lower in calories than non-vegetarian diets. This can help control weight.
People on a vegetarian diet also tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI) than people on a non-vegetarian diet.
Having a healthy weight can help improve blood sugar control and reduce the risk of diabetes complications.
2. Improves Blood Sugar Control and Insulin Response
Consuming vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and nuts is believed to improve blood sugar control and make the body more responsive to insulin.
However, diabetics on a vegetarian diet can have harmful effects on blood sugar if they eat foods rich in simple carbohydrates, such as potatoes, pasta, white rice, and white bread.
3. Reducing the Risk of Diabetes Complications
Strict vegetarian diets are usually free of cholesterol, low in saturated fat, and usually high in soluble fiber.
Following a low-fat vegetarian diet can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. Cardiovascular disease is a common complication of diabetics.
Also Read: 11 Healthy Foods to Replace Rice that are Safe for Diabetics
Vegetarian Diet Tips for Diabetics
Everyone diagnosed with this disease (including pregnant women) can follow this diet pattern as long as they consult a nutritionist or dietitian first.
Here are some tips on having a vegetarian diet for diabetics, including:
1. Consume High Fibre Carbohydrates
Balancing carbohydrates by adding high-fiber foods can help reduce the effects of spikes in blood sugar levels.
Fiber not only keeps blood sugar stable, but also keeps you feeling full longer and aids digestion.
Here are examples of high-fiber carbohydrates for a vegetarian diet:
- Brown rice instead of white rice.
- Whole wheat bread as a substitute for white bread.
- Baked beans as a substitute for potato chips
2. Consuming Vegetable Protein Foods
For people with diabetes, protein is an important nutrient for boosting immunity, helping with satiety, and slowing down digestion which helps regulate blood sugar.
Plant proteins include nuts, legumes and whole grains. Types of vegetarian diets such as Lacto-ovo vegetarians can also get protein from eggs and yogurt.
3. Eat Healthy Fats
When starting a vegetarian diet for diabetes, you will usually replace the saturated fats found in animal products with healthy fats found in plant foods.
So it’s important to add healthy fats to a vegetarian diet because the body cannot produce the two essential fatty acids on its own; namely omega-3 and omega-6.
You can consume healthy fats that come from avocados, nuts, margarine, olive oil and canola oil. Some of the benefits that can be obtained include:
- Make full longer, thereby helping to maintain weight.
- Keeps cell membranes healthy and helps cell development.
- Maintaining healthy blood pressure.
- Maintain healthy hair, skin and nails.
- Reducing the risk of heart disease.
If you have diabetes and want to go on a vegetarian diet, you should consult with a nutritionist first.
A nutritionist will assist in creating a meal plan that provides all the nutrients and the right number of calories to maintain a healthy weight.
- Anonymous. Vegetarian Diets and Diabetes. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/enjoy-food/eating-with-diabetes/vegetarian-diets. (Accessed December 27, 2022)
- Castro, M. Regina. 2022. Vegetarian diet: Can it help me control my diabetes?. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/expert-answers/diabetes/faq-20058117. (Accessed December 27, 2022)
- Cervoni, Barbie. 2022. How to Eat a Well-Balanced Vegetarian Diet With Type 2 Diabetes. https://www.verywellhealth.com/vegetarian-diet-and-type-2-diabetes-1087535. (Accessed December 27, 2022)
- Dierks, Melissa H. Diabetes & Vegetarian Diets: Tips & Meal Options [Plus, Download a Free Meal Plan Chart]. https://agamatrix.com/blog/vegetarian-diabetic-diet/. (Accessed December 27, 2022)
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