New Delhi: Fight Diabetes With Food India, a free eight-week online course, will teach participants about the potential of a plant-based diet to improve diabetes and reduce or even eliminate the need for medications.
In these classes, doctors and nutrition experts from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine — a US non-profit with 17,000 doctor members — will provide practical tips, meal planning, and hold interactive Q&A to help people in India improve their health and tackle diabetes.
The classes will be held every Friday from 9-10 pm beginning 14 May. They will be led by India Program Specialist Zeeshan Ali, health coach and restaurant owner Nidhi Nahata, and Physicians Committee President Neal Barnard, MD. Barnard is a New York Times bestselling author, Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, and leading clinical researcher in the field of nutrition for diabetes.
In a special appearance during the programme, Bollywood actor Mallika Sherawat will also share recipes and the food choices that are vital in fighting diabetes. “There is a way to fight diabetes, by making conscious food choices and focusing more on plant-based food choices,” Sherawat says in her PSA, which will air during the series.
Also read: Covid is unlikely to be eliminated — here’s how we’ll treat it in the future
What the classes will teach
For eight weeks, attendees of these free weekly classes will learn how plant-based foods can reduce risk for type-2 diabetes and will receive recipes and meal plans that can help optimise blood pressure, weight and blood sugar.
They will also be able to listen and learn from experts about how to plan meals, feed the family, and navigate successes and challenges.
Anyone who signs up but misses the courses can go to the programme site and listen to the recordings of the sessions.
The course is touted as the need of the hour with several states reporting a huge number of Covid-19 patients suffering from mucormycosis in India.
According to reports, mucormycosis or black fungus, which causes blackening or discoloration over the nose, blurred or double vision, chest pain, breathing difficulties and coughing blood, is strongly linked to diabetes.
“Focusing our diets on fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes is a simple, affordable way to improve our health, especially when it comes to chronic, diet-related diseases like diabetes,” said Zeeshan Ali, India program specialist, and class instructor with the Physicians Committee.
India’s diabetes problem
According to a study by the Diabetes UK in 2019, around 40 million people in India are diabetics and while vegetarian diets are historically common in India, the extensive use of dairy products and increasing westernisation have led to a rise in chronic, lifestyle-related diseases.
A study by Diabetes Care has shown that plant-based diets or low fat vegan diets are effective at managing and even reversing type-2 diabetes and individuals who follow a plant-based diet have approximately half the risk of developing diabetes, compared with non-vegetarians.
Studies have also found that a plant-based dietary intervention significantly improves insulin sensitivity in overweight adults.
Also read: Exercise boosts immunity and makes vaccines more effective