Treatment and Remission of Symptoms in Type 1 Diabetes with a Nutrient-Dense, Plant-Rich (NDPR) Diet: Case Studies
Keywords:type 1 diabetes, nutrition, plant-based diet, nutrient density, autoimmunity, glycemic control
Type 1diabetes (T1D), in contrast to type 2 diabetes, is an autoimmune disease rather than a lifestyle disease. However, diet and lifestyle factors such as nutrient density, glycemic load, fiber intake, and exercise do affect glycemic control, cardiovascular risk, and risk of complications in patients with type 1 diabetes. Patients with T1D may be able to reduce insulin requirements and achieve better glycemic control if practicing dietary methods to increase plant fibers and micronutrient density, and decrease glycemic load. We propose that anti-inflammatory effects of foods central to a nutrient-dense, plant-rich (NDPR) diet –vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, and lower-sugar fruits – may slow or prevent further destruction of beta cells if dietary intervention is initiated early enough. Herein, we present three cases of patients with T1D who have adopted a NDPR diet at varying times following T1D diagnosis. One patient who began a NDPR diet at age 3 immediately following diagnosis has not yet required insulin therapy nearly three years after diagnosis, and has experienced a steady decline in autoantibody levels. Another child who began a NDPR diet several months after diagnosis maintains a low dose of insulin, a favorable HbA1c, and more consistent blood glucose readings. A patient in his mid-40s who began a NDPR diet 13 years after T1D diagnosis, dramatically reduced insulin requirements and C-reactive protein and maintains favorable HbA1c and cardiovascular markers.