Diabetes

Vegan Diabetes Summit Summary

Published 4.12.2017, Updated 4.16.2017 to correct grammar, formatting and spelling errors.
As I’ve noted repeatedly, I didn’t listen to the final day of the Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, otherwise known as the Vegan Diabetes Summit, because Day 8 was a collection of testimonials. I’m sure those presentations will have inspired some listeners, but I’m not a fan of testimonials in general. Now that my series, extended and sluggish as it was is ended, I thought I’d offer a few thoughts in summary.

As always, please remember that I am not a medical practitioner of any kind and nothing I write should be considered or construed to be medical or nutritional advice.

To cut to the chase, if ever I was diagnosed with type two diabetes (T2D), I still think I’d opt to spend the first two months post diagnosis following the Newcastle protocol. After that though, I think I’d adopt a diet based on the Blue Zone diets. I am not convinced becoming vegan is required or even preferable.

This is not the first diabetic summit I’ve “attended,” nor is it the last. In fact, after writing this summary, I will begin to write my notes from the recent “integrated medicine” diabetes summit. That is to say that I’ll write up the few talks that met my “no quackery” requirement, a number much smaller than the vegan summit. And that is my first point: A far higher percentage of the vegan talks were evidence based and given by actual medical doctors, meaning they have an MD following their name and they are in good standing in their field. Yes, they proselytize for low fat vegan whole food plant base diet (WFPBD) to their patients, but they also use conventional treatment methods. I can’t overstate how important this is for me— your mileage may vary.

Low fat diets can reverse type two diabetes, low carb diets can only control it. Low carb proponents never talk about curing type two diabetes the way low fat proponents do.

Low fat diets restore insulin sensitivity, low carb diets do not. This is particularly important for type one diabetics. It is not uncommon to read that a low carb eater must further lower carb intake because eventually even eating a few carbs causes an insulin spike. That’s a sign that insulin resistance is getting worse.

Eating a low fat WFPBD is not as easy as these folks make it sound. Especially if processed vegan options are off the table (and they were). Cooking without sugar, salt and fat may be possible at home, but most people like to leave their homes and socialize with other humans. Rare is the restaurant that will have much to offer someone eating so restricted a diet.

Vegans hate all dairy, but cheese is the true vegan kryptonite. Decent plant milks now exist— so much so that dairy farmers have started agitating to have the definition of milk be legally limited to mammal excretions. There are numerous vegan ice creams and even yogurts. But cheese is the substances that eludes the vegans. Of course, diabetics would be told (are told) to avoid even vegan fatty foods, but the anti-cheese force is strong in these vegans.

Nathan Pritikin gets some credit from these folks, but nowhere near enough. Nor do they explain how, if Pritikin’s program worked— and it did/does— why is a vegan diet is required?

No blue zone is vegan. The longest lived people on the planet are not vegan. They may not eat a lot of meat, but they do eat meat.

Beans and legumes don’t get enough attention, which is an amazing thing to write about a summit principally designed to tout a low fat WFPBD for diabetics. Of course beans were mentioned, but mostly the talk was about fruits and vegetables— and intact grains. “Intact” will be the new adjective for the word grain for those “in the know.” Frankly, I think they’d be better off pushing legumes rather than intact grains.

There are legit reasons why humans began processing grains. Not least among them is flavor and ease of storage. Pastas, breads, and other baked goods can be made from bean flours, and with a bit of practice they are as good. It’s too early to talk about it, but in time I may use this site to demonstrate how to this. Eating more beans does not have to mean a bowl of beans in a bit of sauce. Beans are a very versatile ingredient.

And that will do it. Thanks to all who read the series.