The above link is a promotion for a book by Dr. Neal Barnard. Actually, I have not read this book. After trying to copy or put in a link to an article from Vegetarian Times in the May/ June issue of 2007, I resorted to the link for the book which gives some information on his study.
The article that I mentioned in VegetarianTimes gives a synopsis of Dr. Barnard’s study showing that a low fat vegetarian diet actually reverses diabetes. The title of the article was, “Slim, Trim +Vegan–This Revolutionary Plan Reverses Diabetes and Can Help You Lose Weight”.
In the article, a case study of a man able to stop medication is cited. My assumption is that the book presents much more evidence. The study itself was not available in my research online.
The elements of the Barnard diet are a vegetarian base and a minimum of fats. Barnard purports the elimination of dairy, eggs, and honey. A low intake of high glycemic foods is also necessary. Beans, vegetables, brown rice and oatmeal seem to be key components of Barnard’s plan. Root vegetables, which are typically limited in a diabetic diet, appear to be included in Dr. Barnard’s recommendations. The diet does not involve calorie counting or portion control. In my understanding, this is basically a revamping of the Gerson diet.
Jenny McLaughlin, our family nutritionist, gave her input and says not to eliminate fats as they moderate the speed of sugar abosrption into the bloodstream. “Fat by itself is a great source of concentrated slow release energy (in other words, low-glycemic) and it also slows the metabolism of high-glycemic foods. A potato by itself is high-glycemic, a potato with grass fed butter and grass fed sour cream is much lower on the glycemic index and full of important vitamins. I think that a healthy fat intake should actually be promoted as part of the solution for diabetics.”
Jen also says that moderation is good, and that finding healthy fats is the challenge. Obviously grass fed dairy is one source, as Jenny mentioned. For those allergic to dairy or trying to follow a plant based lifestyle in battling disease, what are other options? I substitute flaxseed oil for flavor to potatoes or toast, but it cannot be used for cooking. Good quality olive oil is great for cooking, but I keep it to a minimum on the premise that fat feeds cancer. I also eat avocados and fish which both have good oils.
Jen gives another source: “Clarified butter (or ghee) is another casein-free fat source that is good for cooking. I purchase grassfed clarified butter from here: http://www.pureindianfoods.com/order.shtml.”
And here is one that they use in their family–cod liver oil. Says Jen, “I get this one: http://www.radiantlifecatalog.com/product/COD-LIVER-OIL/superfoods-supplements. The WAPFoundation does their homework on supplements and they recommend it. Tim and I take the capsules, but the kids drink the stuff straight. They love it… crazy kids! “
WAPF is the Weston A. Price Foundation which I have blogged about previously. They have a great publication called “Wise Traditions”.
So here are 2 slightly diverging points of view on diet and diabetes. As is usually the case, this is not a simplistic issue.
As a footnote, below are links about two supplements. Both have studies supporting their effectiveness in regulating blood sugar. In both cases, there have also been conflicting studies. Here is a link about stevia:
The second is alpha lipoic acid:
http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-767-Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID).aspx?activeIngredientId=767&activeIngredientName=Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID)