These are candid conversations that took place in some of the Facebook groups I’m in. You can draw your own conclusions.
Me: I would like to ask if there is anyone in this group with Type 2 diabetes who has been successful in reversing diabetes, getting off insulin and diabetes pills, by eating a vegan diet.
DB: My father had this. He cut out all sugar, simple sugars, and only ate complex carbohydrates and walked a lot. He is not vegan though. Just cutting out all sugars and staying away from breads, pastas, and so on he lost all of his extra weight and is no longer diabetic. This has been for 6 years now.
DR: Yes, my dad did, too, by cutting out sugar, processed carbs, and going vegan. He has since gone back to eating meat but the diabetes is still gone.
Me: Great testimonials! Sounds like they both cut way back on carbs but needed to have meat and/or animal products in their diets to maintain a reversal of diabetes symptoms. Kudos to your dads!
From Reversing Diabetes
Me: The buzzword “plant-based diet” is almost always a high-carb low-fat vegan diet! They have their own pages of “success stories” of individuals who swear they dropped hundreds of pounds and got off all diabetes meds and insulin and are living with a 4.x A1C. I’m in conversation with some of them, but they have yet to give me specifics!
SM: I’d be curious to know as well, Jacqueline, as I was on a non-processed, high-carb, low-fat, vegetarian regime for many years, and I just [got] sicker and sicker, until I developed diabetes.
That’s why I was dismayed when, to manage diabetes, I was recommended to follow the very diet that made me sick in the first place. My mind just couldn’t get around that concept. Over a year of vegetarian LCHF [low-carb high-fat] and I feel as strong and healthy as a lion. The impact of quitting carbohydrates was significantly greater than when I quit smoking, which gives a good measure of how damaging they were for me.
TS: I feel bad ’cause when I was vegan I ate no oil as per Dr. Esselstyn and Rip Esselstyn, etc. A guy from my church kept saying he thought we really needed at least some oil and I kept saying no. Now I’m eating fat bombs and using butter in my coffee and having more olive oil on my salads than lettuce.
ZB: You can find study after study either confirming or denying just about any health claim these days, whether it’s LCHF or HCLF. So, I don’t listen to studies anymore. I just listen to what my body tells me when I eat certain foods. When I ate nuts and seeds, my body told me that I was developing heart problems, so I stopped eating nuts and seeds, and my palpitations went away. The high carb info doesn’t scare me. I used to be into Mcdougall, Greger, and all the others, but I have made my decision based upon the numbers that low carb is the only diet that gets my blood sugar under control. I came about this conclusion the hard way, because I really gave the high carb low fat diet a chance… I felt awful and my blood sugar skyrocketed out of control.
BS: My cholesterol got a lot better since I’ve been getting 60-70% of my calories from saturated fat (mostly butter and coconut oil). I think sugar and carbs have a greater effect on cholesterol than saturated fat.
Last time I saw my doctor, I mentioned a low-carb diet and she said it’s not recommended but to make sure I just stick to low GI [gylcemic index] foods instead (giving me a leaflet to read). I tried that, and had horrendous blood sugars; for example, after eating a vegetarian bean chilli and small amount of basmati rice my blood sugar shot up to 18 (UK) or 324 (US) units. She also suggested I didn’t test my blood sugars on a regular basis but rely on my HbA1C! I’ll be seeing her next month and I’m not sure she is going to be happy that I haven’t continued with her dietary advice, and I’m also testing more often now to see what I can and can’t eat! I’m a bad patient so it seems! However, my levels are now in a normal range every time I test (between 4-8 or 72-144), when sticking to a ketogenic diet!
KC: I was vegan before I became Type 1. After diagnosis I pretty quickly went from trying Dr. Barnard’s diet to very low carb.
Me: How did Dr. Barnard’s diet affect you?
KC: It was not good. At that point I was just on Levemir twice a day, and wasn’t bolusing for meals. Breakfast would send my blood sugar into the 400s.
LF: I just felt lousy on that diet. And I craved fat and it kept creeping in and causing weight gain. That was before diabetes. Once I went into DKA [diabetic ketoacidosis], I was encouraged in that direction–LFHC [low-fat high-carb], and couldn’t face it again.
MO: In Oct 2010 I had been trying to “cure” my diabetes with a plant-based diet and instead found myself going by ambulance to ICU for several days and a week’s stay in the hospital. I have kept to being vegetarian and would never go back. I just didn’t understand how I could not be losing weight.
RD: What worked for me in the past was cutting out flour and dairy completely, and going 70% raw vegan. No sweets, except for an occasional dairy-free ice cream, and a bit of raw local honey in my tea. Most protein comes from minimal beans (soy is best), soy milk, nuts/seeds, almond butter, and hemp seeds. Dark leafy greens and zucchini make up at least 60% of my day. Fake meats only once per week at most. I lost 30 pounds over 2 years just by doing that, and a bit of yoga, and I wasn’t even low-carb. I gained it all back plus 15 more over 3 years when I added flour, dairy, and sweets back into my diet, and by general overeating. I’m doing this again, but adding eggs and dairy because I need quick solutions to low-carb snacks. I’m already seeing results just by replacing carbs with green veggies.
JB: I lost 45 lbs. on a strict vegetarian diet consuming 2000-2200 calories a day (I tried to keep my consumption under 2400); 20-25% of my calories were from fat; I ate 5-6 small meals a day, and I did a combination of weightlifting and conditioning 6 days a week for exercise. I wasn’t eating a low-carb diet; I was following the ADA’s guidelines of 45-60 grams of net carbohydrates per meal, which I can’t follow anymore and maintain tight diabetes control.
DC: My wife overcame gestational diabetes 6 years ago by following the Rosedale Diet. Baby was born normal weight while other mothers from the diabetes class we were told to attend were pre-booking C-sections. My wife lost weight throughout her pregnancy and her obstetrician was supportive.
KS: My journey began mid-June 2012, age 62 years, my highest weight 250 lbs., sporting a 42-inch waist, having liver problems, having T2 diabetes problems, having high blood pressure problems (25+ years), having problems with neuropathy, both legs and it was getting worse. January 2015: age 65 years, weighing 140-145 lbs., sporting a 30-inch waist, no more liver problems, no more problems with T2 diabetes (I am off 2 different meds and 2 different injections, which I was doing in same day), off 2 channel blockers, off 2 ace inhibitors, off 1 diuretic for high blood pressure, which I was taking same day. At one time doctor had me trying a beta blocker along with other meds (that did not work either), leg neuropathy is gone, I actually have hair regrowing where it hadn’t been in years. I used to catch flu/cold all the time, had bad sinus problems but for over 2 years now I have been flu/cold and sinus problems free. I had gotten to the point that I could not breathe, my blood pressure was never brought under control (average pressure ran 170s to 210 / 90s to 128). Dr. Ron’s Health Plan/Diet has been a life saver indeed.
From NEWSTART® Insights
BW: I attended the Classic program this February and it was life changing for me. I was pre-diabetic (which is really diabetic, just not medicated), heading for medication for blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes. I topped the scales here before I left for the program at 311 and I was in so much pain with bad knees and bad left ankle that I didn’t do any exercise and I had really lost all hope. I have been on anti-depressants for 4-5 years and I just couldn’t see how anything was ever going to change…. To date I have lost 39 lbs, dropped my cholesterol to normal range, my AC1 is now 5.3, and my blood pressure has been normal every time the doctors have taken it. What also excited my doctor was my iron level. I was on over-the-counter iron, 45 mg a day. I am no longer on that; taking blackstrap molasses instead and my iron was rock steady. My knees still give me issues from time to time, but I figure 51 years of mistreatment don’t go away overnight. I think the biggest obstacle was myself, but I got some great advice from R.G. right before we left. I changed my attitude and have been going pretty strong ever since. Second biggest challenge is not forgetting the T in NEWSTART® stands for Temperance. Temperance in all things, including not working all the time. Doing a lot better with that now, but every now and then I can use reminders from friends! Good news? Yes, my doctor is starting to wean me off the anti-depressants! Don’t hesitate to follow me on Facebook as I have goals set for myself that I really feel that God wants me to share. At 50 lbs weight loss I will update my photo and will then choose the next goal.
RG: I have reversed my diabetes, high blood pressure, and more. I’m Italian and ate everything under the sun and drank the finest wine I could afford. I also had a Big Mac now and then with lots of fries, ate lots of sweets, etc. I did not exercise much at all. The biggest change was stop eating meats, chicken, and fish, stop the alcohol, and start being vegan, and walking which was a new concept to me.
MD: I’m diabetic; however, it’s under control. I was in the 21-day program in 2011 and greatly benefited from the program. I could use a refresher; however, time, distance, and costs play a great factor. A1C was 5.6 last testing, need to get it lower. It was 14.x before I started using the NEWSTART® principles.
From miscellaneous other Facebook posts:
CJ: My parents did the St Helena Hospital TakeTEN program. It seemed to reverse my stepdad’s diabetes, but they didn’t stay on the program afterward and so he’s back on insulin.
MM: In 2010, I saw Dr. Barnard on a PBS special talking about reversing diabetes with a vegan diet. I read his book and called his office. They referred me to Drs. Pulde and Lederman. I worked with Dr. Pulde starting in April 2010. My HA1C went from 8.6 to 6.4 in about 4 months, and has continued to drop. It’s currently 4.4. I had been on a variety of drugs over the years, but none worked. Never took insulin, though I’m sure I was headed that way. Metformin, Avandia (pulled from the market), a couple of others. Drs. McDougall/Puld/Lederman, etc. generally stop or quickly reduce all meds but insulin when people start this plan. Insulin dosages usually drop very quickly. NO oils of any kind. Avocados and nuts very limited or best avoided if reversing disease or losing weight. Same with flours (all). Sweetening with maple, dates, etc. is ok. Sugar in very small amounts added after cooking to top of food; same with salt. A little coconut (not oil) occasionally won’t hurt. I generally avoid flours and eat oats, grains, and sweet potatoes for starches. Rarely bread and I’m sensitive to nightshades so generally no potatoes. It was fairly easy for me. I was already vegan and had been vegetarian since age 12. Still a fair amount of adjustment but not like someone coming from SAD [standard American diet]. I also dropped 20 lbs. over the 4-month period.
JM (reporting about her husband): My husband is a long-term Type II diabetic who became unresponsive to all medications after nearly dropping dead last April. He’s also congestive heart failure. [sic] His blood sugar was under control with a minimum of meds when he tried to drop dead from undiagnosed heart disease. His A1C was good. During the heart crisis, he had a cortisol event. His body knew he was dying and sent his blood sugar through the roof in the ancient response to fight or flight. The hospital could not bring down his blood sugar even with insulin. They sent us home and said carry on as before. We did. Ten days later, he went into congestive heart failure. Thankfully, this way of eating has pretty much reversed the worst of the congestive heart failure issues and is not only dropping his blood sugar but has allowed him to become responsive once more. The docs are estimating he will be off all Type II medications sometime this spring. The high-carb low-fat description does not capture this way of eating. The emphasis is on no oil—a very essential point. Whole foods—stay away from processed as much as possible or choose minimally processed. Plant-based. Absolutely no animal products.