• News
  • Columns
  • Interviews
  • BW Communities
  • Events
  • BW TV
  • Subscribe to Print
BW Businessworld

Plant-Based Eating Approach Could Dramatically Decrease The Rate Of Diabetes In India-Dr. Zeeshan Ali

Obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease are rising nationwide, but now, we are seeing these more Western-conditions expanding on a large scale in India and other countries, where traditionally plant-based diets were the main staple

Photo Credit :


In India, diabetes is becoming an epidemic with 69.2 million people affected by the disease and 71 million people thought to be pre-diabetic. Today, India faces a health crisis like never before.

With Western-style fast food consumption on the rise, the health prospects for most are dismal. Our traditional plant-based diets are being replaced by meat and processed foods, consumption of dairy products is on the rise. These unhealthy foods are driving obesity and diabetes rates through the roof.

Dr. Zeeshan Ali, a researcher with a molecular biology background with a Masters degree in Microbiology from India and a doctorate degree in Molecular Biology from Germany, started his scientific career as a research assistant at Lupin laboratories in Mandideep. Here, he first encountered how animals are abused in the name of research and development in pharmaceutical companies. One fine day he was struck by the stark reality of the atrocities that were meted out to the animals used in research. It was then that he decided to find alternative research methods and organizations promoting ethical research. He found Dr. Neal Barnard and his organization, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and landed in Washington DC in 2012. Since then he is working to replace animals in research and advocating for preventive medicine.

Ali is very passionate about ethical research methods and strongly supports alternative methods in animal testing today. Recently, Dr. Ali has submitted an article to highlight how animal-based research methods in the field of diabetes can be replaced by human-relevant alternative methods. He focuses a majority of his energy on disease reversal efforts.

According to Dr. Ali being free of animal products helps reverse chronic diseases, including diabetes. Both his need for being ethical in research and as a life choice have culminated to his turning towards a plant-based diet for disease reversal. Since the past 5 years, Ali is a vegan too.

In 2011, PCRM launched a free online 21-Day Vegan Kickstart program specially designed for people of Indian origin, featuring traditional Indian recipes, cooking videos, Bollywood actors, celebrity chefs, and nutrition experts. The program HAS reached more than 30,000 people. Physicians Committee is advocating for preventive medicine in countries like China and India where Westernization of food is taking a heavy toll.

Obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease are rising worldwide, but now, we are seeing these more Western-conditions expanding on a large scale in India where traditionally plant-based diets were the main staple. Changing eating patterns in developing countries has increased the prevalence of diabetes and heart disease.

“But through nutrition education, we will not let India follow on the footsteps of the U.S. where diabetes has become an epidemic.We can learn so much from the current health statistics in the U.S.,” says Dr. Ali.

Recent scientific studies suggest that a return to a more low fat, plant-based diet can not only prevent chronic diseases but can even reverse them. Since last few years, Dr. Ali is traveling twice a year to India to advise Indians not to Follow the Western diet and focus on traditional Indian diet containing grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.

“A plant-based eating approach could dramatically decrease the rate of diabetes in India by reintroducing plant-based staples and setting aside animal products. As individuals move away from animal-based diets, the payoff is enormous. Narrowed arteries begin to reopen. Weight melts away. Diabetes improves and sometimes disappears. Health rebounds and health care costs plummet. At the same time, the toll on animals and the environment is alleviated,” highlights Dr. Ali.

Dr. Ali is currently on a tour in India where he is organizing a free screening of the US health documentary Forks Over Knives. Forks Over Knives is a groundbreaking documentary that illustrates the power of plant-based diets to improve health and prevent diseases like type 2 diabetes.

Tags assigned to this article:
diabetes diabetic World Diabetes Day