Plant-based diets work better for diabetics

Readers may get the impression that drinking more milk will benefit their health after reading the report on May 24 (Drinking milk lowers risk of diabetes, hypertension: NUS study).

There is evidence that plant-based diets that exclude dairy are healthier if we want to fight Type 2 diabetes.

In the United States, a large study found that people eating a plant-based diet that excluded dairy had 62 per cent less chance of developing Type 2 diabetes.

In addition, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine found in repeated studies that people with Type 2 diabetes following plant-based diets were able to reduce their medication and manage their diabetes better than those following the diets recommended by the American Diabetes Association, which included animal products like milk.

It is well established that the mutation for digesting lactose is not common in Asian populations.

Thus, encouraging Singaporeans to consume milk causes many to experience negative health effects, including bloating, cramps, diarrhoea and nausea.

There is also emerging evidence that casein in dairy milk is cancer-promoting.

A meta-analysis of studies on plant-based diets by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that these diets decreased not only hypertension, but also ischaemic heart disease, certain types of cancer and obesity.

Many of these diseases are top killers in Singapore , according to the Ministry of Health, and are driving up the healthcare costs in the process.

Michael Broadhead

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 26, 2017, with the headline 'Plant-based diets work better for diabetics'. Print Edition | Subscribe