Type 2 diabetes is an epidemic in the U.S., with 29 million people suffering from the disease. Now, a new study shows that a vegan diet may ease the excruciating nerve pain that often comes with the condition.
In the study, researchers put 17 overweight adults with diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage) on a 20-week low-fat diet, full of fresh vegetables, beans and whole grains. The patients also attended weekly nutrition classes and took a B12 supplement, according to a press release. They lost an average of 14 pounds, in addition to seeing symptom improvements.
“A dietary intervention reduces the pain associated with diabetic neuropathy, apparently by improving insulin resistance” notes Neal Barnard, M.D., president of the Physicians Committee. “The same diet also improves body weight and reduces cholesterol and blood pressure.”
The study was carried out by doctors and nutritionists at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), California State University, East Bay, and the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and it will appear this week in the journal Nutrition & Diabetes.
More than 29 million Americans have diabetes, the release adds, and one in three children born in 2000 will develop diabetes at some point in his or her life. Plus, the average lifetime cost to treat the disease is a whopping $85,200.
This new research adds to the growing body of evidence that a plant-based diet can help treat—and even reverse—many chronic diseases and their symptoms.