Can Diabetics be Vegans/Vegeterians

Tuesday, March 24 is , a one-day wake-up call to inform the American public about the seriousness of diabetes, particularly when diabetes is left undiagnosed or untreated. Often times, diabetics wonder if they can be a vegetarian or vegan? The answer is yes, it  is possible.

There are many different types of vegetarian diets. The most common types are:

  • Vegan- This group does not eat meat, eggs, or dairy products.
  • Lacto-vegetarian- This group does not eat meat or eggs. However, they will eat dairy products.
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian- This group does not eat any meat. However, they will eat both dairy products and eggs.

If diabetics decide to become vegetarian or vegan, their diets should be rich in protein, iron, vitamin B12, calcium and vitamin D.  Eating a good mix of vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, and low-fat dairy products guarantee the body receives the vitamins and proper fuel required to normally function.  As a vegetarian or vegan, this kind of diet should not solely concentrate on simple carbohydrates rich in starches, such as potatoes, white rice and white bread or even fruits, which can have the opposite effect on blood sugar levels for diabetics.  A focus on a well-rounded diet can help to improve blood sugar levels and make the body more responsive to insulin.  It can also help with weight management which can be a concern to many diabetics.

The key to a healthy vegetarian/vegan diet as a diabetic is balance and planning.  Every person who has diabetes has his, or her, own individual energy and nutrient needs. Anyone interested in changing their dietary lifestyle should consult with their health care professional.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center now offers a free, innovative approach to treat patients at risk of developing diabetes. The hospital’s Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) was created by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and is aimed at managing the health of individuals with prediabetes, or borderline diabetes. The DPP is open to all who meet the basic medical criteria. For more information about eligibility or to sign up for the Diabetes Prevention Program, please call 718-206-7088.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.