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Just to share my experiences with the Dr Barnard diabetes diet which, simply, is low fat (not zero fat) vegan (not vegetarian), no calorie restriction diet. In 10 months I have gone from 260 pounds to 210 pounds (still 20 pounds overweight, but I’m 69 years old, so that’s good enough). Morning fasting whole blood glucose is 65. A1C is 5.8. I have eliminated Actos and Glipizide and half of my Metformin, down to 500mg of that. I have eliminated two of my three blood pressure medications, down to Lisinopril 40mg and my blood pressure is 120 over 50 and I get dizzy when I stand up sometimes so that medication may be lowered by my doctor soon. According to him, my HDL and LDL cholesterol and my trigycedrides are that of a new born baby. The downside of vegan is that there are so many nice things that can’t be eaten, but on the upside, there are many that are great. Tonight I had vegan broccoli soup and cornbread (a half an egg in that so I do cheat a tiny bit). On the subject of cheating, as soon as I reached my target numbers, I now eat whatever I want when I eat out, but follow the regime religiously for routine meals at home. Finally, the clincher to me is that I am rarely hungry eating at home, but when I’m out, particularly when there is a plate of cheese and crackers for appetizers, I change in to a ravenous beast and eat far too much. But, the lack of hunger when I’m being good which is most of the time, is dramatic. I even have to remind myself to eat lunch sometimes.
 

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I have been vegetarian for a long time... I run, bike and am very active.

I know a lot of vegans and they do not seem to be any healthier than the vegetarians that I know. I think that Eggs are a good source of protien, one that the body digests well.

Meat stays in your system for a longer time... and I think it slows my metabolism down. I feel draggy and tired when I try to eat animal flesh protein.

Some diabetics cannot do well with rice, and a lot of the higher carb veggies and fruits. I am on an insulin pump and can eat pretty much any veggie and fruit out there. I am type 1 with no weight issues (for now at least) I need the carbs to keep active.
 

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Do you find that by eating vegan, there are a lot of specialty type foods that you have to eat? Or are you able to mostly just buy fresh fruits and vegetables and eat that way?

I'm curious -- not to the point that I would ever want to try vegan... I enjoy my "animal flesh protein" far too much. It just seems like it would really limit the kinds of foods that you could eat. I'm probably wrong about that. :)
 

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I thought the very same thing at first, but soon found out that their are lot's of choices. Just starting from an international cuisine you can find thousands of dishes that are all vegan. We all have learned to eat animal muscle tissue, but just the new level of energy you find from not eating this way is incredible.
 

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Forgive me but I have trouble seeing the point to this diet, especially if you break the rules anyway by eating animal products when you go out.

A low fat diet with plenty of raw vegetables is encouraged for all people, omnivore and non, diabetic and non. Meat has been encouraged as the smallest food contribution to many diets for decades, unless specialized where someone must eat more to compensate lack of other nutrients. Ideal control of meat intake leads to healthy iron and protein intake on top of the iron and protein from legumes and vegetables.

When you go out you claim you're eating dairy, expressly non-vegan food, which could be aiding in contributing to your health besides your home vegan diet. Dairy in small quantities is excellent for health, so I don't see how you're cheating yourself of anything, at least nothing to throw your diabetic levels completely out of whack, unless it's ice cream or high-sugar dairy.

If you're doing vegan for animal rights opinions, that's a different matter entirely. But the way you've explained your diet, it's really lacto-vegetarian, with little improvement over an omnivourous diet except for perhaps lower cholesterol. Non-skimmed milk, yogurt, cheese, and eggs have the potential for as much fat as meat in unhealthy quantities.
 

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Brilliant

Now on my third week of this diet and im converted to being a vegan. Been type 2 for about 6 years, diet controlled initially then a rapid increase in medication. Daily blood readings of up to 16 and diabetic doctor talking about insulin!

Blood readings after week 3 now 7.1, weight loss in 3 weeks 10lbs and feel brilliant. This from a previous meat loving die hard. Doc suggesting if this continues he'll be happy reduce medication.
 

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Good luck, Ken.

I had limited, short-term success with that diet, 15 years ago. I gained a lot of weight and was diagnosed with Hashimoto's then (autoimmune hypothyroidism. I was already an ovo-lacto vegetarian, but still found the diet discouraging.

This time around, after a LADA Diabetes diagnosis and a lot of trying to eat the same way and also to my meter, including low-GI foods such as beans and whole grains, I have now given up the beans and whole grains, and added more fats and protein, basically by following the New Atkins, and I am having more success (been eating this way for about 16 months now). I am finding it much easier to adhere to this way of eating, without spiking my blood sugar.

If you can tolerate beans and whole grains, though, more power to you!
 

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I'm on several diabetes forums and I've seen this happen numerous times: either the subject of Neal Barnard comes up independently, at which point Barnard trolls register just to extol the virtues of this vegan diet, or the trolls register accounts and start their own threads to do the same. They usually don't post more than once or twice and they always have these remarkable success stories, like losing 100 pounds or going off all medication. I would like to believe this were true, but I watch Barnard give his vegan sales pitch and I'm skeptical. He said diabetics should have a big bowl of oatmeal with as many raisins on top as we want. For lunch, a bean burrito. For dinner, a huge plate of pasta ("unlimited" was the term used) with a tomato sauce. He says that his diet is low sugar, but a lot of these foods are full of sugar or turn into glucose very quickly in the bloodstream. He also claims his followers lowered their A1cs, but what were they before the diet? If my A1c were 10% and I ate this diet, maybe I could get mine down to 7% or so. What if my A1c were already 6%, though? Would his diet raise or lower my A1c?
 

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First chance I've had to come by for a bit and found there was a vegetarian thread here already. (way before I asked about it)

It's nice to see and I don't even mind if a troll did start it. I've never heard of the (Dr?) Miss_Blue mentioned. The thread starter is just a single post and there have been some interesting comments since.

I have a lot of experience on this and right now think it is actually the natural way to eat. But I did hit a problem about a year ago and ran low on iron. Took supplements which I'd rather not do if I can avoid it. How do you get your iron? I wonder if there can be a good vegetarian iron source that our whole civilization is missing out on? Wouldn't be surprised, but of course it's just a possibility. That's a big hole in my theory right now.

I went from a fairly heavy meat diet to quitting cold tofu when I moved into a house with a bunch of vegetarians. Did not have the slightest urge to go back to eating meat. I did switch back after about 20 years just because I found out I was a diabetic and the vegi diet is at least a bit hi carb.

My blood pressure was a little high and has dropped nicely since going back to vegetarian again. I'm quite sure it has made a small improvement in my health. I really appreciate small improvements.

Oh will you look at that? It's time for a low carb, vegetarian double brandy :)

bye for now
 

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I think Addie is referring to the Neal Barnard of vegan diet fame - the same one introduced by the original poster. Without knowing all that much about his program, I'm always leery of any of these would-be doctors who are making a pile of money "sharing" their great diabetic discoveries.
 

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I wonder how many people need to tell you the effect that this diet (Dr Neal Barnard's diet) has had on them before you have the courage to try it.

This is not one of those diets that makes someone wealthy, the information is freely available.

Unlike the "Spirit Happy diet" which no one will tell you anything about until you pay your money.

The diet is low fat, low GI, vegan. Simple as that. No tricks, and you don't owe me or anyone a cent.

As soon as I started the diet, eating as much as I wanted etc, I started having hypos - never had that trouble before. Had to hurriedly reduce my insulin dose.

Over the first few weeks I dropped a couple of kilos, then everything stopped. I looked back at the diet and realised I was missing the 'low GI' factor.

Again, it's so simple. The three white poisons - bread, rice, and potatoes - are generally the problem. Yes, they are carbs, but the other carbs (e.g. sweet potato) are ok.

Now my weight is slowly, steadily dropping - only about a pound a week, that's fine. And I am still stepping down my insulin little by little - which of course helps my weight loss too.

And the food is fine. Lots of fresh veges and fruit. After the first bit I felt I was having a bad reaction to soy products, so I have cut back on them. Remarkably there is still a lot of great stuff without having to eat soy all the time. There are lots of delicious 'meat' substitutes as well. I look forward to every meal, and I'm never hungry.

I don't know whether I will end up going right off my meds - I'm not worried, just delighted to see things improving. I don't know, or care whether I will stop being 'a diabetic', and whether I will need to always stay on this diet - if I do, though, that's fine, I love it.

I feel sad when people describe themselves as 'diabetes sufferers'. And also when people would rather call people who try this diet as trolls, and who find it necessary to say everything they can to discourage people who think it might work.

It 'works', but it's not magic. It's a sensible, scientifically tested diet. I'm disappointed that no one told me about it earlier.

It doesn't matter to me if you try it or not. I just wish you'd told me about it sooner.
 

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It was reading Dr Barnard's book that set me off on my improvement programme. Why? Quite simply because I found the book inspirational and it was the first time that anyone had told me that it was possible to "reverse" my non-insulin-dependent Type 2 condition. Everyone else, including all the healthcare professionals, hat told me that my condition was "progressive" and would certainly get worse no matter what I did.

I must say Dr Barnard's approach started me off in the right direction and things happened to me, almost immediately, just like they did to the patients in his book. However, at the same time that I started eating Dr Barnard's way, I started testing my blood glucose levels and also calorie counting to lose weight. In doing those two things, I was also cutting back on the carbohydrate that I eat. My testing soon showed me that it was the cutting back on the carbohydrate that was causing my improvement. However, it took me around six months to learn that by which time I'd made a fairly big improvement already. If I remember correctly, from an HbA1c of 8.5% to 6.8% and then to 5.7%.

If anyone is interested to read it, then this is something that I wrote at that time - i.e just over six months into my improvement progamme started two years ago:

As a Type 2 diabetic, the book that has stimulated me most and got me moving in the right direction is Dr Neal D. Barnard's book.

As regards fat, at this stage, I too consider fat is bad for me and I moved initially to a very low-fat diet - almost vegetarian or even vegan. After reading other US books, I have come to the conclusion that it is very likely that animal products and saturated fat also plays a big part in heart disease, cancer and other diseases too. Being a survivor of colon cancer seven years ago, I am surprised that I was never given any dietary advice as to how I might possibly prevent a recurrence. I found Dr Dean Ornish's book on the reversal of heart disease very convincing too.

I really do not know exactly what has led to my very significant recovery in blood glucose levels. I have said elsewhere that at the same time that I moved to a low-fat diet, as a separate exercise, I started to diet to lose weight and I'm still doing that with an average caloric intake of around 1,300 calories. I'm fairly convinced that the lower caloric intake played a major part in my diabetic improvement. Why? Because the improvement began almost as soon as I started and that seems to happen in all the case studies in the books that I have read.

It was later on that I started playing around with changing the types of carbohydrate (i.e. from refined carbs to low G.I. types) and, also, starting to move towards a lower-carbohydrate intake but only a little bit (I can't call it a low-carb diet). In fact, I consider that I'm still at an early stage with that. I thought Dr Bernstein's book was stimulating too but I didn't dive straight into his programme because - as others have said - it seemed a little bit difficult and drastic. Moreover, I was doing OK - and still am - with the low fat/low caloric intake approach. However, if things start to get more difficult then it is something that I will certainly take on board.

I suppose you could say that I'm on a low-fat, reduced-carbohydrate diet with restricted calories. However, I tend to think of my current diet as being very low-fat (with almost no animal fat/cholesterol), wholefood - with lots of fruit and vegetables (quite a lot more than the five-a-day) - with very low alcohol intake. I'm far from ceratin as to what is causing my improvement in blood glucose levels and blood pressure - and I expect also in cholesterol numbers when I have my annual check in the near future.

Whatever is causing my improvement, I am a very happy man - not least for the 25kg weight loss that has occured so far.
It was at that time, I arrived on these diabetes forums and learnt that it was carbohydrate that was causing most of my improvement and my testing quite clearly showed me that was the major factor in improving my blood glucose levels. Since then - with the help of others on these forums - I have taken my HbA1c down much further to 5.5% > 5.3% > 5.3% > 5.1% and last time to 5.0%. These days my blood glucose levels are within the normal 'non-diabetic' range almost all of the time. All the diabetic symptoms that I had experienced have just about disappeared.

Despite the fact that that I no longer follow Dr Barnard's approach, I do still think that his book "The Reverse Diabetes Diet" is well worth reading if someone wants to try to improve their Type 2 diabetic condition. At least Dr Barnard's book is inspirational and tells you that things are possible. A good read in my opinion but not the diet is not the way to go if you want to truly get control of your diabetic situation.

Dr Bernstein's book is also very good and he also tells us that a great deal is possible by self-management. However, the book is much harder to read and more relevant to Type 1s such as himself than it is to Type 2s such as me. I needed to reread the book at least once before I truly understood what he was telling me I needed to do. However, I do think that Dr Bernstein is the writer who best understands the processes of diabetes and what needs to be done to really get full control of diabetic situations.

I must say that both books have played a big part in different ways in my improvement - but the most significant factor of all was arriving on these diabetes forums. The forums is where I have learnt most!

John
 

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I wonder how many people need to tell you the effect that this diet (Dr Neal Barnard's diet) has had on them before you have the courage to try it.

This is not one of those diets that makes someone wealthy, the information is freely available.

Unlike the "Spirit Happy diet" which no one will tell you anything about until you pay your money.

The diet is low fat, low GI, vegan. Simple as that. No tricks, and you don't owe me or anyone a cent.

As soon as I started the diet, eating as much as I wanted etc, I started having hypos - never had that trouble before. Had to hurriedly reduce my insulin dose.

Over the first few weeks I dropped a couple of kilos, then everything stopped. I looked back at the diet and realised I was missing the 'low GI' factor.

Again, it's so simple. The three white poisons - bread, rice, and potatoes - are generally the problem. Yes, they are carbs, but the other carbs (e.g. sweet potato) are ok.

Now my weight is slowly, steadily dropping - only about a pound a week, that's fine. And I am still stepping down my insulin little by little - which of course helps my weight loss too.

And the food is fine. Lots of fresh veges and fruit. After the first bit I felt I was having a bad reaction to soy products, so I have cut back on them. Remarkably there is still a lot of great stuff without having to eat soy all the time. There are lots of delicious 'meat' substitutes as well. I look forward to every meal, and I'm never hungry.

I don't know whether I will end up going right off my meds - I'm not worried, just delighted to see things improving. I don't know, or care whether I will stop being 'a diabetic', and whether I will need to always stay on this diet - if I do, though, that's fine, I love it.

I feel sad when people describe themselves as 'diabetes sufferers'. And also when people would rather call people who try this diet as trolls, and who find it necessary to say everything they can to discourage people who think it might work.

It 'works', but it's not magic. It's a sensible, scientifically tested diet. I'm disappointed that no one told me about it earlier.

It doesn't matter to me if you try it or not. I just wish you'd told me about it sooner.
I think your post is largely directed at me. Let me clarify: I don't think everyone who tries this diet is a troll. That's just not at all what I said. My suspicion was, based on my membership to several diabetes boards, that some Barnard followers and fans were joining websites with the sole intention of publicizing the diet. The stories were often incredible (my A1c was 15% and I was 400 pounds! I've lost 250 pounds, I'm off insulin, and my A1c is 4.5%!!!!).

I'm glad that some people are doing well, but here are my problems with Barnard's diet:
1) If you are diabetic and have a horrible diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar, then your A1c is likely high and you're probably overweight - maybe significantly overweight. Thus, any diet that restricts what you can eat is going to have some positive effect, even a diet like Barnard's. That's why it's disingenuous to say that Barnard's diet dropped the A1cs of his test subjects. How high were their A1cs? What were their diets BEFORE going on Barnard's plan? Were these already controlled diabetics (A1c <6.5%) who just found an even better way to maintain their blood sugar?
2) I watched Barnard on PBS. Yes, his diet is low-fat vegan. I don't think there are any "tricks." There don't need to be. He advocated that diabetics eat a big bowl of oatmeal with raisins for breakfast. (Dried fruit is very high in sugar and oatmeal is incredibly starchy. We Type 2s are insulin resistant, deficient or both, and the morning is often the worst time for blood sugar, so loading my body up with food that turns instantly to glucose in my bloodstream seems foolish, but I'm open to hearing why it's not.) For lunch he advised eating a bean burrito. Beans aren't so horrible on blood sugar, depending on the type, but the tortilla and the beans equal blood sugar spike, at least for me. For dinner, he recommended something like a big plate of pasta with marinara sauce. Again, the pasta is just so starchy. Combined with all the natural sugars in even a homemade tomato sauce and blood sugar is going to rise to an undesirable range. I'm sure Barnard would argue that most of these foods are complex carbohydrates and should have a more gradual effect on blood sugar. I'm sure that's true - in a healthy, normal non-diabetic. I'm diabetic, though, and these foods most definitely raise my blood sugar quite high.

Fresh veggies and fruits are great, but I find I have to limit my fruits quite a bit. If I eat fruit at all, it's berries. My veggies are all of the non-starchy variety - broccoli, leafy greens, cauliflower, mushrooms, asparagus, etc. I eat high fat and moderate protein. My A1c is below 5%. It was over 11%. I am not on insulin. I lost about 75 pounds. Part of the reason I'm skeptical is that my diet sort of looked like this before I was diagnosed. In fact, the night I was diagnosed, I'd eaten a huge plate of spaghetti, no meat, low fat. My blood sugar was 346 mg/dL in the hospital. I got my blood sugar into the 150 range within a week by cutting out the pastas and fruits and bread. Again, maybe I'm missing something.
3) Not only does his diet go against every experience I've ever had as a diabetic, but it just goes against what I know of diabetes and how the human body works. Because he restricts fat and animal sources of nutrition, his diet ends up being very high in carbohydrates. In a diabetic, these carbohydrates convert to glucose quickly, requiring the body to make more insulin, maybe even than it has, just to deal with the highs. It should be noted that fat does not raise blood sugar and that protein only partially converts to glucose in the body. Insulin is a fat storage hormone, as well.

I wish you all the best. I really mean that. Your testimonial hasn't done much to convince me, though. I don't know what your diet was before the Barnard diet or what your A1c and blood sugar averages were. Your hypos could be caused by reactive hypoglycemia from all the sugars and starches you're eating. The Barnard diet may be an improvement over what you were doing, but that doesn't mean it's a good diet for diabetics.
 

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It was reading Dr Barnard's book that set me off on my improvement programme. Why? Quite simply because I found the book inspirational and it was the first time that anyone had told me that it was possible to "reverse" my non-insulin-dependent Type 2 condition. Everyone else, including all the healthcare professionals, hat told me that my condition was "progressive" and would certainly get worse no matter what I did.

I must say Dr Barnard's approach started me off in the right direction and things happened to me, almost immediately, just like they did to the patients in his book. However, at the same time that I started eating Dr Barnard's way, I started testing my blood glucose levels and also calorie counting to lose weight. In doing those two things, I was also cutting back on the carbohydrate that I eat. My testing soon showed me that it was the cutting back on the carbohydrate that was causing my improvement. However, it took me around six months to learn that by which time I'd made a fairly big improvement already. If I remember correctly, from an HbA1c of 8.5% to 6.8% and then to 5.7%.

If anyone is interested to read it, then this is something that I wrote at that time - i.e just over six months into my improvement progamme started two years ago:


It was at that time, I arrived on these diabetes forums and learnt that it was carbohydrate that was causing most of my improvement and my testing quite clearly showed me that was the major factor in improving my blood glucose levels. Since then - with the help of others on these forums - I have taken my HbA1c down much further to 5.5% > 5.3% > 5.3% > 5.1% and last time to 5.0%. These days my blood glucose levels are within the normal 'non-diabetic' range almost all of the time. All the diabetic symptoms that I had experienced have just about disappeared.

Despite the fact that that I no longer follow Dr Barnard's approach, I do still think that his book "The Reverse Diabetes Diet" is well worth reading if someone wants to try to improve their Type 2 diabetic condition. At least Dr Barnard's book is inspirational and tells you that things are possible. A good read in my opinion but not the diet is not the way to go if you want to truly get control of your diabetic situation.

Dr Bernstein's book is also very good and he also tells us that a great deal is possible by self-management. However, the book is much harder to read and more relevant to Type 1s such as himself than it is to Type 2s such as me. I needed to reread the book at least once before I truly understood what he was telling me I needed to do. However, I do think that Dr Bernstein is the writer who best understands the processes of diabetes and what needs to be done to really get full control of diabetic situations.

I must say that both books have played a big part in different ways in my improvement - but the most significant factor of all was arriving on these diabetes forums. The forums is where I have learnt most!

John
That's fantastic, John! These types of boards have really helped me, too. I was so confused after my diagnosis. I didn't know what to do for myself.
 

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I think Addie is referring to the Neal Barnard of vegan diet fame - the same one introduced by the original poster.
Thank you. The original title of the thread dawned on me after I was in bed (sigh) Goes to show you how bad my memory is, at least when I need it. Photographic memory, no film in the camera. (mine isn't digital) And it's getting hard to find film these days....

The guy might be famous, but I hadn't heard of him. I hardly watch the news etc, not much on keeping up.

Let me clarify: I don't think everyone who tries this diet is a troll. That's just not at all what I said. My suspicion was, based on my membership to several diabetes boards, that some Barnard followers and fans were joining websites with the sole intention of publicizing the diet.
It might have been my post that implied that misunderstanding. (the first part of the quote) I should probably have a forum name like 'stumblefingers,' with the custom title 'I didn't mean to type that!'

I have seen quite a lot of people joining forums to publicize something, Complete pain in the neck. I'm getting to be a bit of a forum rat lately and have been spending too much time around them.

I really appreciate your 'understand things for yourself' attitude. It reminds me of a comment that 'blind faith is abdication of responsibility.' I have heard the dumbest things come from authorities. It's understandable. I've chipped in some extremely dumb things myself. (as in 'oops')

But being awake and aware for yourself, there's just no substitute for it. It's sort of a last resort that might help when someone else goofs.

That just reminded me of something that has to do with both dum and diabetes, so I'll throw it in.

I was in the LA area about 20 years ago and heard about a surgery mistake on the radio news, frequently for about a week. A diabetic had gone in to have a foot amputated and the surgeon removed the wrong foot (!) Not enough time in the army learning all that 'left, right' stuff I guess.

Oh well I guess that's what lawyers and huge cash settlements (I assume) are for.
 
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