This blog post was originally published on July 31, 2016, and it is updated with fresh information and sources and re-published on October 2, 2019.
If you are experiencing diabetes, chances are you have tried changing your diet in an attempt to control your blood sugar. In this blog post, I will discuss how meat affects diabetes and I will compare it to legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas, and split peas). You will learn how legumes prevent and reverse diabetes and can help you control your blood sugar with greater ease.
What occurs in diabetes?
In diabetes, elevated blood sugar occurs because either your pancreas fails to make enough insulin (type 1 diabetes) or the cells in your body have difficulty responding to insulin (type 2 diabetes). Type 2 diabetes is also known as insulin resistance. Additionally, some people experience type 1.5 diabetes which has characteristics of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes is serious because high blood sugar damages blood vessels, which can lead to blindness, heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. Diabetics also develop nerve damage, numbness, and pain. Poor blood flow in the legs leads to non-healing injuries of the feet and legs. Inadequate blood flow and tissue death (gangrene) in the limbs leads to amputations.
Meat is a major contributor to diabetes
For decades, people with diabetes were told to eat the hamburger without the bun. That is the conventional advice. Eat a high protein, low-carbohydrate diet. Basically eat a lot of meat, avoid sugar, and avoid carbs like fruits, grains, and beans. A high protein, low carbohydrate diet sounds like it ought to help you control your blood sugar levels. But it doesn’t. Your blood sugars zig-zag up and down every single day. Research shows it is not working because the saturated fat in the meat actually causes insulin resistance. That’s right, meat worsens type 2 diabetes.
The current research shows that a low fat, whole food plant-based diet effectively reduces insulin resistance. You can improve your blood sugar levels and potentially rely on less medication.
Legumes prevent and reverse diabetes
Legumes are health-promoting foods. This refers to beans, lentils, chickpeas, and split peas. They contain a type of starch called resistant starch which has powerful health benefits. It is called resistant because is does not get fully digested. Some of it travels down to the colon where it produces many health benefits, including reducing insulin resistance.
People who eat legumes also tend to weigh less and have much less belly fat. In this fashion, legumes can help you prevent or reverse insulin resistance and helps you visibly see your results in the process.
Eat more legumes to slim your waist and protect yourself from diabetes!
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Ley SH, Hamdy O, Mohan V, Hu FB. Prevention and management of type 2 diabetes: dietary components and nutritional strategies. Lancet. 2014 Jun 7; 383(9933):1999-2007. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24910231/