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[pronut-hiv] Low-Fat, Vegan Diet Improves Glycemic and Lipid Control in Type 2 Diabetes

  • From: "ProNut-HIV" <>
  • Date: Tue, 01 Aug 2006 21:35:59 -0400

Low-Fat, Vegan Diet Improves Glycemic and Lipid Control in Type 2 Diabetes

August 1, 2006 * A low-fat, vegan diet improves glycemic and lipid control for type 2 diabetes, according to the results of a randomized study reported in the August issue of Diabetes Care.

"Diabetes prevalence is relatively low among individuals following plant-based and vegetarian diets, and clinical trials using such diets have shown improvements in glycemic control and cardiovascular health," write Neal D. Barnard, MD, from the George Washington School of Medicine in Washington, DC. "Most of these trials have also included exercise, thus making it impossible to isolate diet effects.... We sought to investigate whether a low-fat vegan diet improves glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in individuals with type 2 diabetes.

In this study, 99 individuals with type 2 diabetes were randomized to a low-fat, vegan diet (n = 49) or a diet following the American Diabetes Association (ADA) guidelines (n = 50), and they were evaluated at baseline and at 22 weeks.

Reduction in use of diabetes medications occurred in 21 of (43%) 49 of the low-fat, vegan group and in 13 (26%) of 50 of the ADA group participants. For all participants, glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels decreased 0.96 percentage points in the low-fat, vegan group and 0.56 points in the ADA group (P = .089). Excluding those who changed medications, HbA1C levels decreased by 1.23 points in the low-fat, vegan group and by 0.38 points in the ADA group (P = .01).

Body weight decreased by 6.5 kg in the low-fat, vegan group and by 3.1 kg in the ADA group (P < .001), and change in body weight was correlated with change in HbA1C level (r = 0.51; n = 57; P < .0001). In those patients who did not change lipid-lowering medications, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol decreased by 21.2% in the low-fat, vegan group and by 10.7% in the ADA group (P = .02). Urinary albumin reductions were greater in the low-fat, vegan group (15.9 mg per 24 hour) than in the ADA group (10.9 mg per 24 hour), after adjustment for baseline values (P = .013).

"Both a low-fat vegan diet and a diet based on ADA guidelines improved glycemic and lipid control in type 2 diabetic patients," the authors write. "These improvements were greater with a low-fat vegan diet."

Study limitations were relatively short duration; limited compliance of the ADA group; both diets made participants vulnerable to the hypoglycemic effect of their diabetes medications, resulting in medication reductions confounding the interpretation of HbA1C changes; and most study participants were taking antihypertensive medications, which may have blunted the effect of diet on blood pressure.

"Further research is necessary to establish longer-term diet effects and sustainability," the authors conclude.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation supported this study. The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges, mandating that it be labeled "advertisement."

Diabetes Care. 2006;29:1777-1783.