If you hate small portions but would love a smaller waist, Dr. Neal Barnard’s new anti-diabetes breakthrough could be your perfect diet. “We’re using food to protect and restore health — and the payoff is huge, particularly if you have or are at risk of type 2 diabetes,” reveals the George Washington University researcher and world-renowned expert on plant-based eating.
In fact, folks are reversing blood-sugar issues and losing massive amounts of weight — up to 12 pounds every week — while eating their fill of pancakes, corn chips, bread, pasta, and even frozen desserts. “We’ve tested this approach on thousands of people,” reports Dr. Barnard, “and we hear two things over and over: ‘I can’t believe how easy it is’ and ‘I had no idea I could feel this good!’”
Neal Barnard, MD, says his food prescription is simple: Build all your meals and snacks from plant foods, emphasizing options low in fat and rich in fiber. “Your staples will be vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans, and peas,” he says. Dress them up with extras like tomato sauce or hummus, even a little maple syrup or wine.
Small amounts of fat-rich plants like avocado, nuts, and olives are fine. But, particularly if you have weight to lose, avoid pure oil altogether. You also stay away from all animal foods, including eggs and dairy. Dr. Barnard says the possibilities are endless and the portions really are unlimited. “Try it for 10 days and see how you do. My hope is you’ll like the results so much, you’ll want to stick with it for good.”
How it Works
Thanks to breakthrough technology called magnetic resonance spectroscopy, scientists can now peek inside individual cells. Yale researchers using the technique discovered that “there are microscopic fat particles building up in our muscle and liver cells — and it revolutionized our understanding of obesity and diabetes,” Dr. Barnard says. “These particles block the hormone insulin as it tries to get sugar into cells to be burned for energy.”
It’s the root cause of insulin resistance and prediabetes — conditions that leave cells literally starving for fuel even as large amounts of sugar go unburned and end up as fat. “Your pancreas begins making extra insulin to force sugar into blocked cells,” explains the doc. “Eventually it can’t keep up, and type 2 diabetes develops.”
Here’s Dr. Barnard’s good news: A low-fat plant-based diet quickly eliminates fat particles, and “your cells essentially wake up and start burning calories much faster than before. Energy also increases. Mood improves. And blood sugar issues, includ- ing full-blown type 2 diabetes, improve and can even go away.”
Why is a plant-based diet the best way to unclog cells? For starters, plant foods are less likely to become fat particles in the first place. A British study showed that folks who avoid animal products end up with almost 50 percent fewer fat particles compared to meat eaters of the same age and body weight. Dr. Barnard adds that saturated fat from animal products continuously creates more fat particles. “A low-fat plant-based diet has very little saturated fat, so your body is able to burn the fat particles, and then they’re not replaced,” he says. It’s the reason his recent study found that folks allowed
How to Do It
Simply build your meals around veggies, fruit, whole grains and beans. Enjoy other low-fat, unprocessed plant foods freely; limit quantities of higher-fat plant foods and skip animal products altogether. For more great tips and inspiration, check out Dr. Barnard’s site, PCRM.org. We also love DrMcDougall.com and EatPlant-Based.com. Always get a doctor’s okay to try any new plan — especially if you take insulin or sulfonylureas.
A Sample Day
Breakfast — Banana Pancakes: In blender, blitz 1 banana, 11⁄2 cups oat flour, 1 cup nut milk, and dash cocoa. Cook in pan with cooking spray. Top with syrup.
Lunch — Easy Pasta Salad: Toss cooked whole-grain pasta with your pick of beans, chopped veggies and herbs; enjoy with low-fat vinaigrette.
Snacks — Nibble on any low-fat plant-based foods you like, such as baked corn chips with salsa or whole-grain cereal with nut milk and fruit.
Dinner — Grilled low-fat vegan burger with a wholegrain bun and low-fat toppings; enjoy sides like fat-free vegan baked beans and corn.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.