Dr Neal Barnard's Low Fat Vegan Diet to reverse diabetes

Has anyone followed Dr Barnard's diet to reverse diabetes? He claims you can eat without counting calories. Very restrictive vegan - no eggs, animal protein, dairy, or oils of any kind. Seems to be the complete opposite of what a person with diabetes should be eating.

Anybody tried this?
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Replies

  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    The theory is that any weight loss can help with diabetes. The danger for the diabetic is that if your BG gets too high you could end up in the hospital or worse.

    The other problem is that the diet is highly restrictive which may make it very hard to follow for some people. It also probably allows for things like nuts which can blow a calorie deficit for the day and since you are not counting you might not know.

    Since the occurrences of diabetes in my family runs really high and I see how they eat and then some die early because they don't accomplish carb control or weight loss I suggest you start with carb control. Then once you have that under control try to start losing weight with as few other changes as needed.
  • cmriverside
    cmriverside Posts: 33,939 Member
    edited April 2019
    Vegetables! I ate (and eat) SO many vegetables! - just not all vegetables.

    ..I think I need coffee before attempting to type. Coffee, I drink coffee with half and half and sugar!
  • lemurcat2
    lemurcat2 Posts: 7,885 Member
    I'm sure it has worked for people (they have all the anecdotal stuff that every other diet that claims to cure this or that does), and you often don't need to count on super restrictive diets since it takes a while to figure out what to eat. It's going to be high fiber and (especially at first) pretty low cal, and will cause weight loss (which often puts T2D in remission).

    I wouldn't do it personally since too restrictive and cuts out foods I think are quite nutritious and others that I like in moderation. But I also don't think of "you don't need to count" as some big plus in a weight-loss approach, as understanding calories and where I was getting too many was educational for me and quite interesting. (I count occasionally at maintenance, but mostly not.)
  • dsboohead
    dsboohead Posts: 1,900 Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    The theory is that any weight loss can help with diabetes. The danger for the diabetic is that if your BG gets too high you could end up in the hospital or worse.

    The other problem is that the diet is highly restrictive which may make it very hard to follow for some people. It also probably allows for things like nuts which can blow a calorie deficit for the day and since you are not counting you might not know.

    Since the occurrences of diabetes in my family runs really high and I see how they eat and then some die early because they don't accomplish carb control or weight loss I suggest you start with carb control. Then once you have that under control try to start losing weight with as few other changes as needed.

    Ditto!
  • nvmomketo
    nvmomketo Posts: 12,019 Member
    cathipa wrote: »
    The theory is that lipotoxicity is the driver for diabetes. High sugar is a symptom of diabetes, but not the cause. Consumption of too much fat (typically saturated) which is then deposited into the cells and does not allow insulin to do its job which is to allow glucose into the cell. If you avoid fat then the cells can essentially purge the fat and the insulin will be able to do its job more effectively. This does not work for everyone (especially people who have been diabetic for many years), but could improve their course (i.e. possibly decreasing medications). Dr. Barnard runs Physicians Center for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and is backed by science. There is another group of guys who are diabetic (Mastering Diabetes) who promote similar plans. It couldn't hurt to try (with the assistance of your physician of course).

    How does saturated fat inhibit insulin from doing its job?

    You may find this interesting:
    http://www.tuitnutrition.com/2019/03/insulin-glucagon-pancreas.html?m=1
  • durhammfp
    durhammfp Posts: 493 Member
    edited April 2019
    I don't know about reversing diabetes but I do know that six months ago I started losing weight with calorie restriction alone (target: 1-1.5 lb loss per week)** and last week I got my annual physical blood work back.

    I had lost just 35 lbs. My FBG went from 103 to 77 and my A1C from the mid 5s to 4.9. My lipids improved a lot too.

    I was high overweight but not obese and not diagnosed T2D. I come from a family, though, where a sibling, one parent, and two grandparents are/were diabetics and the other parent was prediabetic, before dying with Alzheimer's disease recently. I am trying to get ahead of T2D as aggressively and as fast as I can.

    Also, concerning that extreme vegan diet: I went on that myself a few years ago, or one very much like it. (I can't remember if it was Barnard or Fuhrman but it was one of those and as well as being vegan it completely forbade any potatoes, any alcohol, any refined oils, and any coffee. COFFEE!! I mean, dear god, man, WTAKitten?!)

    Previously I had been a lacto-veg for quite a while, so I was totally groovy with eating a whole-plant-food-based diet; however, I just found that vegan diet so restrictive that it drove me nuts. I was constantly obsessing about food and I lost barely a pound a week for 12 weeks. Then I fell off the wagon hard and regained all of it pretty quickly. YMMV.

    My current "weight loss journey" has worked much better for me since I am eating in a way that is really sustainable, again, for me.

    I think any diet undertaken to improve a health outcome should be done in consultation with a competent medical professional who really knows you and your medical history. Again, YMMV, but this is how I feel about my own health.

    ** Meaning my macros on MFP are set at their default--50% carb, 30% fat, 20% protein--because that pretty much mirrors how I eat anyway and I have been happy with that. Also I feel like I'm hitting my micronutrients pretty well with that macro split.
  • MikePTY
    MikePTY Posts: 3,814 Member
    This Dr. Bernard is not a nutritionist or endocrinologist, so I'm not exactly sure why he is developing diets to treat diabetes.