Is a vegan diet good for diabetes?

Vegan diets are often higher in fiber than other eating habits, which makes it easier to keep your blood sugar stable. This nutrient not only promotes digestive health, but also slows the absorption of sugar into the blood. Plus, it increases satiety and curbs hunger, which can help with weight loss, explains the Mayo Clinic. To reap the benefits, aim for at least 25 grams of fiber per day if you’re female, or 21 grams per day if you’re male. Whole grains, beans, fruits, nuts, seeds, and vegetables are all great choices.

Clinical research supports the benefits of vegan diets for people with diabetes. Scientists say plant-based diets can improve blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity, preventing diabetes complications. This dietary pattern may also reduce the need for diabetes medications and protect against nerve damage, reports the Journal of Geriatric Cardiology. In one study, half of diabetic patients who switched to a high-carb, high-fiber diet for 16 days were able to stop insulin therapy. The other half were able to reduce their daily insulin dose.

However, not all vegan foods are healthy. French fries, breakfast cereals, frozen entrees, candies and other processed foods can cause your blood sugar levels to skyrocket. “There’s no point in going from a processed meat diet to a mostly processed vegan diet,” said lifestyle medicine physician Shireen Kassam in an interview with Plant Based News. For example, plant-based burgers are full of sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats.