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Manage Diabetes with a Vegetarian Diet

Updated on May 9, 2011

Vegetarian Diet Can Help Diabetes

Being a diabetic can put a damper on your diet because you have to better monitor what you eat and how it affects your blood sugar levels. Because a vegetarian diet includes high fiber foods, it gives diabetics better chance to help control the blood sugar levels, especially as it excludes meats that are loaded with fats.

A vegetarian diet consist of a lot of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables that are great foods that can help adjust your high and and low blood sugar levels. By changing to a vegetarian diet, you won't be able to cure your diabetes, but you can better control it. Plus, you'll be able to better control your weight which can actually make your body more receptive to insulin. And, being that by switching to a vegetarian diet, you can better control your weight and cholesterol, which can help reduce risks of heart disease, lethargy, bone and joint problems, kidney disease, and other related diabetes related health conditions.

Being that vegetarian diets contain a lot of fiber, if you have Type 1 diabetes, you may be able to switch to a lower dosage of insulin. A high-fiber, vegetarian diet has also been proven to help those with Type 2 diabetes reduce their need for their medications, as well.

If you have diabetes, it's recommended that you take at least 9 services of vegetables and fruits, and up to 6 servings of whole grains a day in order to reach the full benefit of switching to a vegetarian diet.

Just remember that before you change your diet, you should really consult your doctor and/or dietitian so that you can determine the right number of calories that you need to consume on a daily basis in order to maintain a healthy weight and blood sugar levels.

Switching to a Vegetarian Diet

If you have spoken to your doctor, and together you have worked the best vegetarian diet that you need, you can go ahead and get started.

Just remember that it will be very important that you monitor your blood sugar levels frequently throughout the day, especially in the beginning as your body is making the adjustment.

If you don't want to make the switch all at once, you can still benefit from a gradual change to a vegetarian diet. Start by cutting out red meat and pork, followed by weaning yourself off of chicken and turkey.

When switching to a vegetarian diet, you'll find fast food for lunch and dinner isn't going to be an option, unless you buy a salad, so if you're not much of a cook, you may need to learn. Below, you'll find a few vegetarian cookbooks that you may want to check out if you've decided to switch to a vegetarian diet.

If you have decided to eat better, but you don't necessarily want to be a full-on vegetarian, you can have a semi-vegetarian diet, an ovo-lacto vegetarian diet, or a macrobiotic vegetarian diet.

  • Semi-Vegetarian: No red or white meat (beef, pork, venison); do include chicken, fish, grains, dairy, eggs, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian: No meat of any kind (beef, pork, venison, poultry, fish); do include eggs and dairy into the diet. (Ovo vegetarian diet includes eggs but no dairy; Lacto vegetarian diet includes cheese and dairy but no eggs.)
  • Macrobiotic Vegetarian: (A diet that is generally not recommended from a nutritional standpoint when at its highest level) No meat, poultry, dairy, or eggs. Slowly eliminates, fish, fruits, and vegetables, until the diet consists of just brown rice and grains.

Depending on what vegetarian meal plan you and your nutritionist decide upon, you will want to make sure that you keep with a minimum consumption of sweets and fatty foods, consume more whole gains, vary your fruits and vegetables, and choose fat free or nonfat milk and dairy (if you choose that diet).

Disclaimer: Please be aware that the advice in this article should in no way replace that of a licensed physician. If you have any questions, please consult a doctor or nutritionist so that you can discuss your diet plan and how to manage your diabetes while on a vegetarian diet.


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    • hubpage101 profile image

      hubpage101 7 years ago from United States

      Very Informative information. I have a few members of my family who are diabetic and I am always encouraging them to eat healthy. I think that everyone especially diabetics should ensure they get their daily intake of meat as well as fruit and veg.

    • Joanna Verdan profile image

      Joanna Slodownik 7 years ago from New Jersey

      Excellent information. The truth is the best diet for diabetes is the same diet that is best for everything else - mainaining overall health. The great majority of what we eat - at least 70% of calories consumed or more - should come from unrefined plant food - mostly fresh raw (or only lightly cooked) vegetables, lots of greens and fruits, and limiting (or completely eliminating) processed foods, meats and diary. If you just follow these recommendations, you'd be surprised how many of your chronic problems will disappear.

    • Skydweller profile image

      Skydweller 7 years ago from Kathmandu

      practicing a vegan's diet can be very difficult but diabetic people should try getting into it.

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      You don't have to be a vegetarian to manage your diabetes with diet. This is just one option. It is good that you have been able to better manage your diabetes with a balanced diet.

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 8 years ago from Australia

      Whitney05, I was diagnosed as Diabetic type2 some 5 years ago and through just an adjustment of diets and increased exercise I was able to get the Diabetes under control without the need for insulin.

      I still eat my serves of red meat, with chicken and fish meals tucked in between. Plenty of vegetables and thanks to my wife's great cooking we do not have boring meals.

      Exercise plays a big part in controlling my Diabetes.

      Thanks for this most informative Hub :-)

    • live4god4 profile image

      live4god4 8 years ago from Tampa Bay area, Florida

      This is exactly what I am in the process of doing. I am doing some research to make sure I let my body do without anything. So far I am doing pretty good. I find that if I include tofu in my meals my sugar levels are less than when I eat other foods.