Type 2 Diabetes (T2DM) cases are much more common than Type 1 Diabetes and caused by modifiable risk factors such as diet. Nowadays, researches have also shown that the therapeutic effects of vegetarian diets on diabetes can be more beneficial than medication for diabetes management. In other words, a proper diet schedule can help a lot in terms of controlling blood sugar in diabetic patients.
TYPE 2 DIABETES-OVERVIEW
Type 2 Diabetes also known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which patients do not respond to insulin (insulin resistance) as they should and, later they become unable to produce enough insulin. This results in increments in the blood glucose levels. Type 2 diabetes is caused mostly by genetic factors and seen more commonly in adults. However, it can affect the children too.
Signs and symptoms develop slowly. Generally, symptoms are:
-Feeling very thirsty and hungry
-Feeling very tired
-Unexplained weight loss
-Urinating more often than particularly, especially at night
-Cuts and wounds heal very slow
-Itching around the penis or vagina
Risk factors of diabetes are age, genetics, weight, ethnicity. Complications of diabetes are heart disease, stroke, nerve damage, diabetic retinopathy, kidney diseases, foot problems, etc.
HEALTH EFFECTS OF VEGAN AND VEGETARIAN DIETS
Vegetarian diets range from vegan(no animal products), lacto-ovo-vegetarian(no animal meat, but consumes milk and egg), pesco-vegetarian(consumes fish) and semi-vegetarian(occasional meat consumption).
A vegetarian diet has many health benefits because of its higher content of fiber, unsaturated fat, folic acid, Vit C and E, potassium, magnesium, and many phytochemicals. Vegans tend to be thinner, have lower blood serum cholesterol, blood pressure, Vit D, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and some minerals. Vegetarian and vegan diets improve glycaemic control and blood lipids.
DIABETES MANAGEMENT AND DIET (Summary)
Nowadays, vegetarian and vegan diets increase in popularity. Vegan diets have high fiber, unsaturated fat, Vit C and E(antioxidants) content which play an important role in improving the glycaemic control and blood lipids.
Diabetes has to be treated with collective methods includes diet, exercise, not smoking, stress-free living, etc. Furthermore, substituting vegetable proteins for animal proteins may also decrease renal hyperfiltration, proteinuria, and renal acid load and in the long term reduce the risk of developing the renal disease in type 2 diabetes.
However, we do not have a certain conclusion about the effect of a vegan diet on diabetic individuals. Some researches show that glycemic control is better with the vegan diet than with the conventional diet. At the same time, some researches say there is no difference between the two types ofdiets.
Written by İlksen Koşar , a Medical Student at Bezmialem Vakıf University –Turkey.