Vegatarian diet for a Type 2 Diabetic
October 11, 2013 4:40 PM   Subscribe

Asking for a friend...

Said friend has type 2 diabetes, but she is interested in pursuing a meat-free/as little as possible animal products diet. She is having a lot of trouble getting straight answers on how to do so, especially as regards protein intake.

She is especially worried about dietary issues with her condition and abandoning meat.

What say you, o mighty hivemind?
posted by Samizdata to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
It's sort of difficult to answer... but what I got from my class (even tho' now I am not diabetic, go figure), is:

Eat X amount of protein plus a limited amount of carbs. Before you eat it, take your blood sugar.

Two hours later, take your blood sugar.

Is it in range? No? Then don't eat that again. Yes? Then do eat that again, next time.

My Dad takes a pill, my son-in-law does insulin, and I mean, it's pretty much individual to each person. That is why they tell you to take your blood sugar and do the H1C test.

The gist is: take your blood sugar. Then Eat. Then take it 2 hours later. Is it within range? (145 or whatever they say now). Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

So you don't want to be eating donuts or tons of noodles. But you could be eating carbs like eggplant parmesan. And you need to be the Scientist in your own blood sugar game, yeah? You can't rely on anyone else to do it for you. And then write it down so you know, fuck, Ramen is bad but egg noodles not so much.

It's an ongoing process and what I was taught was, stop freaking out, and give yourself a year to figure it out. Also, exercise lowers your blood sugar, so you can game it up that way too. FYI.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:15 PM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: There are a number of past questions here that your friend may find helpful.

Basically, she is looking to pursue a low carb vegetarian diet (at least relatively low carb).

I'm not sure exactly what the confusion is regarding protein intake, but protein intake is very important in any diet, and there are many vegetarian sources of protein. Meat is not necessary to maintain adequate protein intake. If she's going vegan that makes it more challenging, but can still have a moderately low carb diet with beans and soy protein as the main protein sources (with occasional whole grains/high fiber carbs).
posted by treehorn+bunny at 5:35 PM on October 11, 2013

I guess the obvious answer is beans, which are good, because you can subtract the carb element due to beans having fiber. So if she eats beans, those are great because some carbs and fiber.

Not sure if she does eggs, those are protein, and I rely a lot on Greek yogurt with blueberries and a few walnuts. It depends on how veg she wants to go.

The main thing is to get with a qualified nutritionist who knows about diabetes and what is her H1AC level? Is it 11? That's bad. Is it 6? Not so bad.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:38 PM on October 11, 2013

I can't vouch for it personally but this guy claims success in treating diabetes with a vegan diet: Neal Barnard
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 5:50 PM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The American Diabetes Association has a booklet on meal planning (that doesn't seem to be online, nor can I find my copy to give you the title--your friend should ask her doctor/dietitian/etc if they know of it) that actually is written in a way that makes it usable for vegetarians (it definitely assumes you eat meat, but whoever wrote it at least realised vegetarians exist). They have a page on meal planning for vegetarians on the website, too.

(I'm a vegetarian with a curiously high fasting blood glucose, who should probably be making more of an effort to eat less bread than I do. When I was making a good effort, the ADA booklet was pretty useful to me.)
posted by hoyland at 6:32 PM on October 11, 2013

Your friend's endocrinologist can probably recommend a nutritionist who specializes in diabetic nutrition.
posted by radioamy at 8:10 PM on October 11, 2013

A vegetarian diet has been shown to help prevent or reduce diabetes (type 2?) in many people. Watch this video.
posted by reddot at 4:49 AM on October 12, 2013

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