(HealthDay News) — A vegan diet might help patients with diabetic neuropathy lose weight and find some pain relief, a small pilot study suggests.
The findings were published in Nutrition & Diabetes.
Cameron Wells, MPH, RD, acting director of nutrition education for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, D.C., and colleagues recruited 34 adults with type 2 diabetes and diabetic neuropathy.
The authors randomly assigned half to follow a vegan diet and take a vitamin B12 supplement; the rest took the supplement but continued with their normal diets.
The intervention group was told to limit themselves to 20 grams to 30 grams of fat per day and to increase low glycemic index foods; they were also offered weekly classes for support in following the vegan diet.
After about 5 months, the vegan group had lost 15 lb, on average, vs. about 1 lb in the comparison group, according to the researchers. They also reported bigger improvements on a standard pain-rating survey.
“In just 20 weeks, we had people lose weight, see their blood sugar levels drop and their pain improve,” Wells told HealthDay. “Sometimes doctors are quick to rely on medications, but diet can make a big difference.”