Dietary Transition for Diabetes

Warning – changing to a whole foods plant based diet may work too well and too quickly. Your current medications, particularly insulin, may become too strong for you, causing hypoglycaemia. This includes other classes of drugs including sulfonylureas but not metformin. We recommend that you consult your doctor before making major dietary changes. See disclaimer. It is helpful if you can get your doctor on board with what you are doing – perhaps you could share some educational material such as Dr Neal Barnard’s PCRM diabetes resources for physicians.

The next thing to consider is how quickly to make the transition. When no medical conditions are present, an abrupt overnight transition to a 100% whole foods plant based diet often works well. There is a definite demarcation between the old and the new, no indecision over food choices, and the benefits such as losing weight or feeling more energetic are immediate. This approach may be suitable for someone with “diet controlled” diabetes on no medications. Those on tablets may need to stop them as they make the transition but this decision should only be made in consultation with your doctor. Type 2 diabetics treated with insulin will have rapid changes in their insulin requirements and are not advised to change their diets overnight unless under daily medical supervision.

A gradual transition over several weeks, with frequent glucometer reading and close medical supervision is the preferred option for anyone on insulin. Taking a more gradual approach gives you time to try out new recipes, discover quick and easy options, and restock your kitchen. This way you won’t be left not knowing what to eat on day one of your new eating plan. This website is supportive for all degrees of “plant strong” eating but we do recommend that you give a totally plant based, no oil diet a fair trial of at least 3 weeks. The full benefits are often not apparent until you are nearly 100% whole foods plant based.

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