(505) Preventing and Reversing Diabetes

  • Room: Ballroom A
  • Session Number:505
Wednesday,June 08, 2022:9:50 AM -10:50 AM
Contact Hours: 1


Neal Barnard MD
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine


Type 2 diabetes is a worldwide epidemic, often leading to serious complications and premature mortality. In the context of Covid-19, poorly controlled diabetes greatly increases mortality, and racial disparities in diabetes prevalence have fueled disparities in Covid-19 mortality. 

New nutritional interventions for diabetes have shown surprising power in both its prevention and management, and particular attention has been paid to plant-based diets. As a group, individuals following such diets have a lower diabetes prevalence, compared to others. They also tend to have lower cholesterol levels and are less likely to be overweight or hypertensive. In clinical trials, plant-based diets have led to dramatic improvements in diabetes management, typically reducing medication requirements and sometimes making the condition disappear for all intents and purposes.  

Type 2 diabetes starts with the build-up of microscopic fat particles inside muscle and liver cells (intramyocellular and hepatocellular lipid), which causes the cells to stop responding normally to insulin, a condition called insulin resistance. A low-fat, plant-based diet—which, of course, has no animal fat and very little fat in general—directly addresses this fundamental cause of diabetes. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy shows that a low-fat plant-based diet reliably reduces intramyocellular and hepatocellular lipid, with the result that insulin resistance can be replaced by increasing insulin sensitivity.  

This presentation will describe the rationale for a plant-based diet and how to put it to use, including simple steps that can be used by patients in the clinical setting. Because the intervention relies on food, the result is not only improvement in the identified patient, but often also in the family.


Learning Outcome

Understand the scientific evidence supporting dietary approaches for type 2 diabetes.