Health & Wellness

A Primarily Plant-Based Diet May Help Ward Off Type-2 Diabetes

You don’t need to be vegan to reduce your risk

Photo: iStock/harmoony.


 Sticking to a predominantly plant-based diet may cut your risk for Type-2 diabetes by 23%, according to a new US study. Previous studies had pointed to a link between plant-based diets and diabetes, but the latest study, published in July in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, provives the strongest evidence.

Researchers in the Department of Nutrition at the Boston’s Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health examined health information for 307,099 participants, 23,544 of whom had Type-2 diabetes. Their meta-analysis of nine studies looked at the benefits of eating a predominantly plant-based diet—that is, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes that also includes potatoes, white flour, sugar, and some animal protein. A diet that included more than four servings of animal products a day, including meat, eggs, or dairy products, would no longer count.

“Plant-based diets typically emphasize fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains, which contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals, antioxidants, phenolic compounds, and unsaturated fatty acids,” researchers wrote. “Clinical trials and observational studies have shown that these foods individually and jointly improve insulin sensitivity and blood pressure, reduce long-term weight gain, and [alleviate] inflammation involved in the cause of Type-2 diabetes.

“These diets also deemphasize or avoid red and processed meats, which have been shown to adversely affect risk of Type-2 diabetes.”