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During my days as a health care chaplain, I have often encountered individuals hospitalized in order to undergo amputations for fingers, toes, feet and even legs due to complications arising from their diabetes. In some cases they have lost their eyesight, as well. In other cases, they have suffered devastating strokes, or kidney failure.

Surprisingly, these tragic outcomes often occurred in men and women who were only in their 40’s and 50’s! They represented many different races and nationalities. But the one factor they all seemed to have in common was obesity. Many times I would overhear the nurses referring to these patients as “non compliant.” In other words, despite the seriousness of their disease, these people refused to make the changes in their lifestyle that might halt, or even reverse, the progression of their illness.

Sadly, nearly 18 million Americans suffer from Type-2 diabetes which results from a combination of lack of exercise, poor eating habits and genetics.

Reversing Diabetic Symptoms

Only days ago, the results of a scientific study hit the wire services that confirm the fact that dietary changes can reverse diabetic symptoms. According to a report in Diabetes Care, a journal published by the American Diabetes Association, researchers found that people, who ate a low fat, low sugar, vegan diet, eliminating all meat and dairy, lost more weight and lowered their blood sugar more than people on a standard American Diabetes Association diet. In addition, those on the vegan diet lowered their cholesterol more and ended up with better kidney function, as well.

After 22 weeks, 43% of those on the vegan diet and 26% of those on the standard diabetes diet were able to lower the doses, and in some cases, even stop taking some of their drugs, such as insulin or glucose control meds. LDL or “bad cholesterol” plummeted 21% in the vegan group and 10% for those on the standard diabetes diet.

As an added bonus, vegan dieters lost an average of 14 pounds in the 22 weeks, while the standard dieters lost 6.8 pounds in the same time period.

Dr. Neal Barnard, the president for the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, which helped conduct the study, told a news conference, “I hope the study will rekindle interest in using diet changes first, rather than prescription drugs.”

Our Creator has truly blessed us with an awesome array of healthful foods to consume. Fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains and nuts (in moderation) make up a diet that is not only delicious and energizing, but also has the added benefits of preventing and in some cases, reversing many of the degenerative diseases brought on by our modern lifestyle.

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By Kathy A. Lewis. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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