September 28

Type 1 Diabetes Treatment: A Plant-Based Diet


Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

The brand-new International Journal of Disease Reversal and Prevention had its share of typical plant-based miraculous disease reversals. After having not one but two heart attacks within two months, a whole food, plant-based diet and no more chest pain, controlling his cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugars while losing 50 pounds as a neat little side-bonus. Yet the numbers don’t capture the transformation, the resurrection from feeling like a “dead man walking” to getting his life back.

I already discussed the cases of autoimmune inflammatory disease reversal, the psoriasis, the lupus nephritis kidney inflammation; and, speaking of autoimmune-diseases-we-didn’t-think-we-could-do-anything-about, type 1 diabetes. In contrast to type 2 diabetes, which is a lifestyle disease that can be prevented and reversed with a healthy enough diet and lifestyle, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which your body attacks your own pancreas, killing off your insulin-producing cells and condemning you to a life of insulin injections—unless, perhaps, you catch it early enough. Maybe if we can switch people early enough to a healthy enough diet, we can reverse the course by blunting that autoimmune inflammation.

Now, we know patients with type 1 may be able to reduce insulin requirements and achieve better blood sugar control with healthier diets. For example, randomize children and teens to a nutritional intervention in which they boost the whole plant food density of their diet, meaning eating more whole grains, whole fruit, vegetables, legumes (which are beans, split peas, chickpeas, and lentils), nuts, and seeds. And the more whole plant foods, the better the blood sugar control.

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The fact that more whole fruits was associated “with better [blood sugar] control has important clinical implications for nutrition education” in those struggling with type 1. We should be educating them on the benefits of fruit intake, and allaying “erroneous concerns that fruit may adversely affect blood sugar.” But this case series went beyond just proposing better control of the symptom of diabetes—high blood sugars—but better control of the disease itself, suggesting the anti-inflammatory effects of whole healthy plant foods “may slow or prevent further destruction of the [insulin-producing cells of the pancreas] if the dietary intervention is initiated early enough.” Where are they getting this from? Check it out.

One patient who began a vegetable-rich diet at age three, immediately following diagnosis of type 1 diabetes; but three years later, still has yet to require insulin therapy, while experiencing a steady decline in autoantibody levels, markers of insulin cell destruction. Another child, who didn’t start eating healthier until several months after diagnosis, maintains a low dose of insulin with good control. And even if the insulin-producing cells have been utterly destroyed, type 1 diabetics can still enjoy dramatically reduced insulin requirements and reduced inflammation and reduced cardiovascular risk, which is the #1 cause of death for type 1 diabetics over the age of 30. Type 1s have 11 to 14 times the risk of death from cardiovascular disease compared to the general population, and it’s already the #1 killer among the public, so it’s like 11 to 14 times more important for type 1 diabetics to be on the only diet and lifestyle program ever proven to reverse heart disease in the majority of patients—one centered around whole plant foods. And the fact it may also help control the disease itself is just sugar-free icing on the cake.

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All this exciting new research was just from the first issue of the journal! As a bonus, there’s a companion publication called the Disease Reversal and Prevention Digest, a companion publication to the International Journal of Disease Reversal and Prevention for the lay public with the belief I wholeheartedly share: that everyone has a right to understand the science that could impact their health. And so, you can go behind the scenes and hear directly from the author of the lupus series, with bonus interviews from luminaries like Dean Ornish, practical tips from dietitians on making the transition towards a healthier diet, complete with recipes.

The second issue continued to feature practical tips like how to eat plant-based on a budget, what Dr. Klaper is doing to educate medical students, what Audrey Sanchez from Balanced is doing to help change school lunches, and if you think that’s hard, Dr. Ostfeld got healthy foods served in a hospital (what a concept). And, what magazine would be complete without an article to improve your sex life?

Now, while the journal itself is free, downloadable at, the companion digest, available at, carries a subscription fee, but I, for one, am a proud subscriber.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

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