World Diabetes Day: Shining a Spotlight on a Global Epidemic

Sometimes our main motivation for being ‘healthy’ and eating well is simply to look good.

Which of course is fine, but it is certainly not the whole picture.

Living a healthy lifestyle is about making sure we ‘look good on the inside’ as well.

Proper nutrition and the adoption of a whole food, plant-based diet is the cornerstone of ‘looking good on the inside.’

Not to mention one of the best possible ways to prevent chronic disease like type 2 diabetes.

Since World Diabetes Day is just around the corner, this seemed like the perfect occasion to talk about diet and diabetes.

Let’s review what we know.

What Is World Diabetes Day?

World Diabetes Day logoAn event held each year on November 14th, World Diabetes Day is designed to raise awareness for diabetes, allowing you to show support for those who suffer from it and battle against this escalating epidemic.

Originally introduced by the International Diabetes Foundation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO), World Diabetes Day was first celebrated in 1991.

November 14th is a significant date because it marks Frederick Banting’s birthday. Banting was the man who in 1922, along with Charles Best and John James Rickard Macleod, set the wheels in motion for the eventual discovery of insulin (the hormone that helps blood sugar enter the cells).

Diabetes: a Global Epidemic

Approximately 9 percent (29 million) of the US population live with diabetes, while more than a third of American adults (86 million) lives with prediabetes (90 percent of them without knowing it!)

Diabetes is a global problem affecting over 415 million people worldwide.

And that number is expected to rise to 642 million by 2040.

What is worse, one in two people with type 2 diabetes is undiagnosed.

So the more we understand the risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes, the more we are able to prevent, or even reverse this chronic disease with lifestyle changes, especially diet.

The Whole-Food, Plant-Based Connection

As we discussed in our recent article Diet and Diabetes: Why Saturated Fats Are the Real World Diabetes Day blue circle logoEnemy, eating a whole food, plant-based diet that is naturally low in fat goes a long way in decreasing your overall risk of diabetes.

The idea that a plant-based lifestyle can benefit those with type 2 diabetes dates back to the 1930s, when it was shown that a diet based on vegetables, fruits, intact grains, and beans was one of the most effective nutrient-based treatments for diabetes.

The Adventist-2 study, which included 89,000 people and extended across 50 years, found that those who eat meat one or more days a week have significantly higher rates of diabetes. And the more often meat is eaten, the more frequent the disease. In contrast, those who eat strictly plant-based (even at the same weight) are 78 percent less likely to suffer from diabetes.

How to Celebrate on World Diabetes Day

So…how can you participate in World Diabetes Day this November 14th?

  1. Rosane Oliveira and Apple Crisp with WalnutsGet Screened: The best way to raise awareness is to get yourself tested and encourage your friends and family to do the same.
  2. Attend an Event: Check your local area for community events or fundraisers on World Diabetes Day.
  3. Try a Healthful Recipe: Food really does play an important role in health. Use this day as the perfect excuse to try a more healthful version of your favorite treat. Your friends and family will love our recipe for Apple Crisp With Walnuts!

Take the opportunity on World Diabetes Day to think about this disease and how you can lower your risk and protect your loved ones.

The bad news is that diabetes is rampant.

The good news is that there is a solution.

Changing to a plant-based diet can go a long way towards preventing or even reversing this chronic condition.