Adhering to a lifelong vegetarian diet is associated with a 35% lower risk of developing diabetes. But why?
Every year on the first day of October, folks across the globe celebrate World Vegetarian Day! The key goal of this day is to bring awareness to the ethical, environmental, health as well as humanitarian benefits of pursuing a vegetarian lifestyle.
Most of us are no strangers to the health benefits of a balanced vegetarian diet. Folks with a diet high in plant-based foods are more likely to have lower body weight, improved heart health, and are at lower risk of contracting certain cancers!
But what really caught our eye when we were exploring veganism and vegetarianism was the promise of improved blood sugars. Can pursuing a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle really help alleviate diabetic symptoms? Let’s find out!
Are there any studies that prove that vegetarian diets help in preventing diabetes?
Well, yes! Lots actually! A study conducted in 2018 on Vegetarian Diets and the Risk of Diabetes revealed that:
Adhering to a lifelong vegetarian diet is associated with a 35% lower risk of developing diabetes
Those who adopted a vegetarian diet after being non-vegetarian were shown to have a 53% lower risk of developing diabetes when compared to lifelong non-vegetarians
Several studies have also discovered that medication use amongst diabetic participants significantly decreases when they adopted any variation of vegetarian or vegan diets.
How does adhering to a vegetarian diet help alleviate diabetes symptoms?
There are many types of vegetarian diets like pescetarian, vegan, lacto-vegetarian… However, all of them share the commonality of placing more emphasis on consuming vegetables and fruits — all of which are packed with dietary fibre.
Fibre filled foods are slower to digest and reduces the likelihood of blood sugar elevation. This aids in preventing an increase in insulin resistance among diabetic patients.
Furthermore, vegetarian diets also promote better weight management and lead to a lower body mass index. This is beneficial for blood sugar control and aids in reducing complications from diabetes.
Decreased intake of meat also reduces the amount of saturated and trans-fat consumed, which helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases — a prevalent complication among diabetes patients.
Do I have to shift to an entirely vegetarian diet to reap these benefits then?
No — as shared, the key elements that provide these amazing benefits to vegetarians is their increased consumption of dietary fire, and reduced consumption of saturated and trans-fat from meat products.
To see similar benefits, just increase your consumption of fresh whole foods, and reduce your meat consumption will do!
There are many types of vegetarian diets out there, and some allow for the consumption of meat or animal products. So go explore what works best for you! There’s no need to force yourself to adhere entirely to a diet that doesn’t suit your palate or desired lifestyle.
Any advice on how I can shift towards a more vegetable based diet?
Not many can just flip a switch and go cold turkey on meat without a second thought, so don’t be too worried if you have some trouble adjusting in the beginning. Here are 3 tips on how you can get yourself started:
1. Start slow
Removing meat from your diet is a massive life decision, and like all major life decisions, it should be made slowly and carried out methodically. Start off by having 1 meatless meal every day. When you’re comfortable, increase that frequency — perhaps you can have 1 meatless day every week or 2 meatless meals a day! It might take some time to make the transition but before long, you’ll find yourself there.
2. Plan, plan, plan
For most of us working adults, it is infinitely important for us to plan our meals. This way, we will always have access to vegetarian meals when we’re out and about fulfilling our work commitments. This can be done in a multitude of ways — If you cook, plan out your meals ahead of time. If you prefer to eat out, have a list of vegetarian cafes or food stores that serve amazing food on hand. Having delicious vegetarian meals all the time will definitely serve as motivation to keep going.
3. Variety is key!
There are more vegetables and fruits out there than there are meat products. So don’t limit yourself to just a few! Have fun and experiment with different types of whole grains, vegetables or fruits. Play around with your spices, mix the sweet and savoury — the world is your (vegetarian) oyster.
Things To Note
There are indeed many benefits when it comes to adopting a vegetarian diet. However, there are some concerns regarding such diets. Particularly, the low protein intake due to the limited consumption of meat. Vegan diets are especially susceptible to this.
To combat this, we’ve developed W0W® — it is a vegan, plant-based product made from spent barley grains which contains 4 grams of protein per serving. Including W0W® in your diet can certainly help boost your protein intake and help you achieve your daily recommended protein intake! Being high in fibre, our noodles are blood sugar friendly too — perfect for those with diabetic concerns.
We frequently remind our consumers — to see real and sustained health benefits from W0W®, consistent consumption across a period of time is crucial. Of course, we’re not suggesting that you have W0W® with every single meal, every single day. As much as we love our W0W®, even we’d have trouble with that!
Really, just one meal a day with W0W® would suffice to start.
When it comes to maintaining your health, there is rarely a need for drastic measures. Just be consistent in cultivating healthy habits in your day-to-day life. Maintain a diet with a variety of foods including fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, and W0W®, exercise and move your body frequently, and laugh lots with your loved ones.
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