Plant-Based Diets Can Lower The Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

People who consume a healthy plant-based diet can greatly reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a new study conducted by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers.

Diets that rely heavily on plants - especially foods like vegetables, nuts, fruits, whole grains and legumes - can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 20 percent compared to those with a low adherence to this kind of diet. Researchers also claim that if you combine a plant-based diet with less healthy food choices such as potatoes, refined grains and sugar-loaded drinks, a 16 percent decrease in developing type 2 diabetes can still be attained.

"This study highlights that even moderate dietary changes in the direction of a healthful plant-based diet can play a significant role in the prevention of type 2 diabetes," said Ambika Satija, lead author of the study. "These findings provide further evidence to support current dietary recommendations for chronic disease prevention."

Less animal-based foods

Researchers believe that people can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes not only via a plant-based diet, but also by lowering consumption of animal-based products. During the study, participants saw lower incidences of diabetes by reducing animal-based foods from 5 to 6 servings per day to 4.

"A shift to a dietary pattern higher in healthful plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and lower in animal-based foods, especially red and processed meats, can confer substantial health benefits in reducing risk of type 2 diabetes," said Frank Hu, senior author of the study.

Researchers claim that plant-based diets high in fiber, unsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants all contribute to lowering the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. They also believe that this type of diet contributes positively to healthy gut microbiomes.

Source: EurekAlert!

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