Benefits of a Macrobiotic Diet for Diabetes

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“Benefits of a Macrobiotic Diet for Diabetes” Why are macrobiotic diets
so effective at reducing blood sugar levels in
diabetes, within just a few weeks? Because the diet is centered around whole
grains—brown rice, barley, and millet— maybe the high fiber intake is
improving the gut microbiome, the friendly flora in
the colons of diabetics and that’s leading to a
reduction in insulin resistance? Or maybe because it also
has lots of vegetables? Maybe it’s correcting some
kind of low-grade acidosis from the high levels of animal
protein in their regular diets. Regardless, this was after just 21 days. Can macrobiotic diets also help with
longer-term blood sugar control? How about a 6-month dietary intervention
with wildly out-of-control blood sugars? Hemoglobin A1c offers a sense
of one’s average blood sugar over the previous few months.

So an A1c level of 5 would mean
over the last few months, your blood sugars have been in
the double digits most of the time, meaning your sugars have been
normal, healthy, and nondiabetic. But an A1c like 6 is
prediabetes territory and 6.5 can be a sign
of full-blown diabetes, but under 7 is considered
controlled diabetes—that’s what diabetics are striving towards
with pills and insulin injections— and anything over 7 is considered
out-of-control diabetes.

The average A1c level in
the macrobiotic diet study started off the charts at 12.6, meaning for months they had been
averaging blood sugars in the 300s, despite all being on insulin injections. But then they were placed on
this so-called Ma-Pi 2 diet, a strictly plant-based macrobiotic-style
a diet centered around whole grains, vegetables, and beans, with some
sesame seeds, and green tea. What happened? A1c levels started with a wildly
out of control diabetic 12.6 despite daily insulin injections, and 6 months of eating that diet
ended up averaging a nondiabetic 5.7.

And are you ready for this? That was after they all were
able to eliminate their insulin. They went from 100% on insulin
with out-of-control diabetes to 0% on insulin averaging
non-diabetic blood sugars. That’s the power of plants. And three-quarters were off
all their diabetes medications completely in just 6 months. And what are the side effects? How about LDL-cholesterol dropping 20%,
and triglycerides dropping nearly 40%, though, of course, anyone starting
a strictly plant-based diet must ensure a regular, reliable
source of vitamin B12. All we need now is a randomized,
controlled trial, and here it is. Type 2 diabetics were randomized
to the macrobiotic diet versus the recommended
American Diabetes Association-type diet. So here’s an example of a typical
day on the macrobiotic diet: a savory whole grains cake
for breakfast with green tea, with brown rice sesame
balls for a snack. Lunch was a vegetable millet
soup, brown rice salad, with lots of vegetable
sides, and adzuki beans, more whole grain snacks.

And a dinner similar to lunch:
vegetable barley soup, lots of vegetables, chickpeas,
green tea throughout the day. Whereas the more standard
the diabetic-diet group got a day like this: low-fat milk, whole wheat bread,
kind of a Mediterranean lunch with vegetables and beans,
fruit for a snack, and a bean and vegetable
soup, whole grain bread, a-gritty is like a green leafy
vegetable, and baked fish. I have to say that’s a
pretty healthy control diet. I mean they could have compared
it to some trashy diet, but they wanted to be like, look, this is
what the diabetes groups say is best, so let’s stack our diet against theirs. OK, so what happened? The macrobiotic diet won out on every
measure of blood sugar control. Check out these numbers. They all started with fasting
blood sugars in the 120s.


That’s bad, but they
were, after all, diabetics. Normal fasting blood sugars, like
when you wake up in the morning before breakfast, should be at least down
in the double digits, under a hundred. When they put people on this relatively
healthy diabetes association diet, their blood sugars got better
over the three-week study, from the 120s down to the one-teens. So that’s like the best the official
diabetes-recommended diets can do. Compare that to an
isocaloric macrobiotic diet, meaning the same
number of calories. This is what the macrobiotic
diet did: better within days and hit normal fasting
blood sugars within a week. 100% of those on the macrobiotic diet
got down to at least under 110, whereas less than half of those
on the diabetes diet did. And this was on fewer drugs. In the control group,
one person was able to reduce their oral
hypoglycemic medications, whereas five of the
seven on such drugs in the macrobiotic group
had to stop taking them, otherwise their blood sugars
would have fallen too low.

So better results on fewer drugs. That’s the power of
a healthy diet. And just as an aside, what a poke
in the eye with a sharp stick this study was to
the low-carb crowd. I mean look at this. They took diabetics and put them
on a 73% carbohydrate diet, adding a hundred grams of carbs to their
daily diet, and in the form of grains. And what happened? Did their blood sugars
skyrocket out of control? No, they got better, significantly
better in a matter of days, with average fasting blood sugars
starting at 129, falling to 95, and holy moly, look
at their LDL cholesterol, down to 62, a nearly 48%
drop in three weeks.

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