Video Courtesy of YouTube
As the Western world becomes increasingly obese, so do our chances of developing disease – and the stats are there to back it up. Between 1990 and 2005 the incidence rate of diabetes nearly doubled in the United States. 23.6 million Americans were diabetic in 2003.With more corn produced than we know what to do with, food companies have been stuffing us with as many calories as possible, because this is the easiest way for them to expand their market. The result is lots of processed foods – easily digestible, easily absorbed, and more prone to making us overweight. The bottom line is – we're eating too much food, while a majority of the world doesn't get enough. In their official 2010 dietary guidelines, the USDA explicitly states that we should simply eat less food. This is a simple statement to make, but more difficult to follow in practice.
Obesity is inextricably linked to increasing your chances of developing diabetes. It's not that obesity, in and of itself, causes diabetes, but the overall lifestyle that leads to diabetes. But, diet is a major factor in lifestyle, and switching over to the vegetarian diet may be a prudent choice in reducing your risk.
The road to becoming diabetic is a multi-faceted and long one. There are many preventative steps you can take to help lessen your chances of developing diabetes. Regular exercise helps maintain a healthy fat to muscle ratio, while regulating blood sugar levels and weight. Not smoking and drinking certainly helps, as these both have been shown in numerous studies to increase the risk of becoming diabetic. Even toxins, such as bisphenol A found in plastic, has been linked to diabetes. One of the most important factors, though, is a person's average daily intake of fats and sugars. Becoming a vegetarian can help cut these out of your diet.
How Does The Vegetarian Diet Help?
Becoming a vegetarian is a simple, clear-cut, and easy way to cut a significant number of calories – unhealthy calories, in most cases – out of the diet entirely. By telling yourself that you're becoming vegetarian, the question of “should I eat this steak?” becomes the simple answer, “no.” No more debating with yourself about eating unhealthy amounts of meat, which will let your mind rest at ease and leave you feeling less stressed out.
Studies indicate that vegetarians, on the whole, consume fewer calories. This is due to the caloric density of meats, which is now a part of virtually every meal in the American diet. Generally, vegetarians – and especially vegans – replace the meat in their diet with fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. All these foods actually prevent diabetes from forming, as they help regulate blood sugar levels. The high dietary fiber content in most vegetables is largely responsible for this, but fiber has the added benefit of cleaning out the digestive tract (which meat clogs) and decrease overall cholesterol levels (which meat increases).
Granted, some vegetarians may just increase their intake of cheese, whole milk, and candy bars, but studies also show that vegetarians are all-around more mindful of their health. Becoming vegetarian makes you become more conscious of the food you eat, and in many cases this can lead to healthier decisions.
Make The Jump!
If you're simply interested in becoming healthier and decreasing your risk of diabetes, go ahead and make the jump to the vegetarian diet. If you already have diabetes, though, make sure to consult your doctor before making any major changes to your diet. They will help you transition over to the vegetarian diet safely.