Obesity, Diabetes and Nutrition — Dietary Guidelines by Neal Barnard, MD

Source: www.pmcr.org – Good Medicine Magazine – Autumn 2006

These are the highlights of his program:

  • A Vegan Diet : Avoiding Animal Products
  • Avoiding Added Vegetable Oils and Other High-Fat Foods
  • Low Glycemic Index
  • Go High-Fiber
  • Volumetrics
  • Focus on the New “Four Food Groups”
  • Vitamin B12:

Diet changes are the cornerstone to treating type 2 diabetes. …

The way of eating explained below does not require weighing or measuring, and you will never go hungry.


1) A Vegan Diet : Avoiding Animal Products
Animal products contain fat, especially saturated fat, which is linked to heart disease, insulin resistance, and certain forms of cancer. These products also contain cholesterol, something never found in foods from plants. And, of course, and all products contain animal protein. It may surprise you to learn that diets high in animal protein can aggravate kidney problems and calcium losses. Animal products never provide fiber or healthful complex carbohydrate.

A vegan diet is one that contains no animal products at all. So, to be specific, here are the food you want to avoid: red meat, poultry and fish, dairy products, and eggs.

2) Avoiding Added Vegetable Oils and Other High-Fat Foods
Although most vegetable oils are in some way healthier than animal fats, you will still want to keep them to a minimum. All fats and oils are highly concentrated in calories. …

You will also want to avoid foods fried in oil, oily toppings, and olives, avocados, and peanut butter.

3) Low Glycemic Index
The glycemic index identifies foods that increase blood sugar rapidly and allows you to favor foods that have much less effect on blood sugar. High-glycemic index foods include sugar itself, white potatoes, most wheat flour products, and most cold cereals.

High GI (avoid) — white or wheat bread, most cold cereals, watermelon, pineapple, baking potatoes, sugar.
Low GI (enjoy) – pumpernickel or rye bread, oats, bran cereals, grape-nuts, most fruits, sweet potatoes, pasta, rice, barley, couscous, beans, peas, lentils, and most vegetables.

4) Go High-Fiber
Aim for 40 g of fiber a day, but start slowly. Load up on beans, vegetables, and fruits. Choose whole grains (try barley, oats, quinoa, millet, whole wheat pasta, etc.). Aim for at least 3 g per serving on labels and least 10 g per meal.

5) Volumetrics
Here is an optional step they can help with weight control. The idea is to eat foods that have fewer calories than grams per serving. Try adding lots of soups, salads, and foods cooked in water (like oatmeal) to your daily diet. These “heavy foods” will make you fill up without taking in a lot of calories.

6) Focus on the New “Four Food Groups”
Choose unlimited amounts of grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Small amounts of nonfat condiments, fat free vegan cookies and crackers, alcohol, and coffee are also OK.

Plant foods have plenty up routine. The recommended amount of protein in the diet for postmenopausal women is 10% of calories. Most vegetables, legumes, and grains contain this amount or more. Those seeking extra protein can choose more beans, asparagus, mushrooms, and broccoli.

Because diets rich in animal protein cause the body to lose more calcium, a person on a vegan diet needs less calcium to stay in calcium balance. Good sources of calcium include broccoli, kale, collards, mustard greens, beans, figs, fortified juices and cereals, and soy or rice milk.

Vitamin B12:
Those following a diet free of animal products for more than three years (or at any time in childhood, pregnancy, or nursing) should take a B-12 supplement of 5 micrograms per day. Any multiple vitamin will provide this amount.