Type 2 Diabetes is widely considered preventable, yet, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it accounts for about 90-95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes in the US. And while it was once associated with older age, Type 2 diabetes is now considered a worldwide epidemic that includes increasing numbers of children and young adults being diagnosed with it. According to the American Diabetes Association, the most significant risk factor for children is obesity.
The good news: research is showing that we can prevent and even reverse Type 2 diabetes through a healthy diet and exercise. A 2006 study found that 43% of individuals with type 2 diabetes who followed a low-fat vegan diet for 22 weeks were able to reduce their medications used to manage the disease. Another study found that 21 of 23 patients on oral medications and 13 of 17 patients on insulin were able to get off of their medications after 26 days on a near-vegetarian diet and exercise program.
The research showing the benefits of plant-based foods is so strong that the American Diabetes Association acknowledges that “research supports that following this type of diet can help prevent and manage diabetes,” and that “research on vegan diets has found that carbohydrate and calorie restrictions were not necessary and still promoted weight loss.”