Is a Vegan Diet Better Than Paleo for T2 Diabetes?

We don’t know yet because they’ve never been compared head-to-head.

paleo diet, Steve Parker MD, how to cook asparagus and Brussels sprouts

These might be on the vegan Ma-Pi 2 diet

What we do have is a specific vegan diet (Ma-Pi 2) compared to a low-fat diet in a study published by Nutrition & MetabolismCarbsane Evelyn dove into the study at her blog (recommended reading), or you can read the original research report yourself. Study subjects had fairly well-controlled type 2 diabetes and were elderly (66) and overweight (84 kg or 185 lb). The vegan diet was mostly whole grains, vegetables, legumes, and green tea.  The low-fat and vegan diets both probably supplied 200-300 calories/day fewer than what the subjects were used to: 1900 cals for men, 1700 for women. The study lasted only three weeks.

The vegan group ate 335 grams/day of carbohydrate compared to 235 grams in the low-fat group. In contrast, the Paleobetic Diet provides 60-80 grams/day of digestible carb and the Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet allows a max of 20-30 grams.

The vegans in the study at hand ate 15-20 more grams/day of fiber. High fiber intake is linked to better blood sugar control.

From the study abstract:

After correcting for age, gender, BMI at baseline, and physical activity, there was a significantly greater reduction in the primary outcomes fasting blood glucose and post-prandial blood glucose in those patients receiving the Ma-Pi 2 diet compared with those receiving the control diet. Statistically significantly greater reductions in the secondary outcomes, HbA1c, insulin resistance, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and LDL/HDL ratio, BMI, body weight, waist and hip circumference were also found in the Ma-Pi 2 diet group compared with the control diet group. The latter group had a significantly greater reduction of triglycerides compared with the Ma-Pi 2 diet group.

The take-home point for me is that overweight T2 diabetics can improve short-term diabetes numbers despite a high carbohydrate consumption if they restrict calories and eat the “right” carbs. Restrict calories enough—600/day?—and T2 diabetes might be curable

I’ve written before about vegetarian/vegan diets for diabetes. My patients are more resistant to vegan diets than they are to low-carb.

Paleobetic diet, low-carb breakfast

Not allowed not on the Ma-Pi 2 diet. Bacon, eggs, black coffee, and Cholula hot sauce. A caveman wouldn’t recognized any of this except for eggs.

I scanned the original report and don’t see any problems with Evelyn’s summary.

Steve Parker, M.D.

6 responses to “Is a Vegan Diet Better Than Paleo for T2 Diabetes?

  1. Would you still recommend low carb then? My dad is prediabetic and we have been trying to get his HA1C and fasting blood glucose down for a while but it seems to stay up there.

    • David, I think carbohydrate-restricted eating is an excellent way to reduce abnormally high blood sugars for most folks. If it didn’t work after a reasonable trial (a couple months or more), I’d try a different way of eating. All along I’d work on reducing excess body fat and make sure to get regular exercise.

    • Hi,

      Surprised you did not edit away my post, thank you for that.

      As per your query: This guy is an extreme bore, autistic narcissist or something but he attacks paleo every single way he sees an opening to do so. You want paleo doubts removed take the exhausting ride on one of his play lists. I couldn’t handle more than 50 in a few weeks time at that point the guys personality was wearing me ragged.

      I myself am a frequenter of,
      sometimes they mess up here and there, but the ratio of solid pointers to information of interest compared to misses is very favorable, as an pathological skeptic I’m convinced of Gregers over all good intentions.
      Its free and non commercial, bit vegany which I do not care for at all, I wish they’d completely avoid the term vegan in favor of Whole Foods Plant Based Diet. But hey, at least there is no focus on the vegan animal plight angle, site organizers very rarely let that surface.

      My story is too long to list but 1 year ago I stopped smoking and suddenly had ED and a whole range of other complaints for about 10 days. I have some biology background and recognized immediately that circulation was an underlying problem and not just for those 10 days. That led me to nutritionfacts and the 1000+ clips and all the experimentation options just suit my adhd type personality perfectly ^^

      Focus on fixing the pipes and you will be amazed of the effects:

      Natto 50 gr/d, loads of WFPBD fiber 80-100gr/d to help dump waste,
      anti inflammatory spices, regular exercise.
      Massive impact within months,

      I was aware fat slams the veins shut but after this one I decided on a really low fat trial:
      trying for a 15/15/70 for past 4 days now
      with the 50 gr oils from some flax, 20 gr walnuts, and a few grams of sesame oil with a few gr curcuma and boiling water (HT) and pepper 2 times a day.
      Already very excited over a few good signs.

      I’m guessing you are a young man, as such you might be interested with the fact I have never in my life (now 40) had better erections than I have now, not even close even as a teenager.
      Sounds weird but as a male you can actually use your erection firmness as a gauge of the state of your circulation.

      I’ve missed my sleep last night, and feeling it in a bad way right now, I have to stop. Do the experiments on yourself as in the sources cited and you can actually have fun with it 🙂

      Good luck and regards,

      Arjan den Hollander.

  2. But the ultimate question is “can they do it for the remainder of their lives?” That is the true test of the suitability of any of the concepts.

  3. You should be thrown in jail for attempted murder.
    It is pretty much clear for half a century that fat and protein are toxic to health when taken in excess, and you promote both.
    Start with the Kempner rice diet, Pritikin, Esselstyn, Ornish, or even just google: endothelial function&fat and protein&insulin andyou have an answer on the question why you belong in jail as a M.D. selling paleo.
    First rule : Do no harm. Well sir your site is lethal.