According to a recent study published online in the journal PLoS Medicine, people who follow a plant-based diet that’s low in animal-based foods, but rich in fruits, whole grains and veggies, have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
For the study, data from approximately 200,000 Americans was analyzed. Subjects completed health questionnaires about their lifestyle, medical, and diet histories. Info was collected from over 20 years.
Researchers discovered that individuals who embraced a plant-based diet had a 20 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared to those who didn’t. Even further, the healthier the foods—the lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
For example, a healthy plant-based diet filled with vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes and whole grains reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by 34 percent. Subjects who followed a less healthy vegetarian diet (i.e. refined food, sugary beverages, refined grains, etc.)—but still for the most part consumed plant-based foods—had a 16 percent higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
Even a small drop in eating animal-based products (i.e. from six to four servings per day) reduced the incidence of type 2 diabetes.
There were study limitations. For one, a link was only established between a plant-based diet and a lower risk of type-2 diabetes—not a cause and effect relationship. Further, the method of using self-reported dietary patterns was utilized. Still, the data was taken from over a number of years, so the potential for error was small.
There are many different types of vegetarians. The lacto-ovo vegetarian is one of the most common types—think dairy (lacto) and eggs (ovo). They eat veggies, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains, but avoid animal flesh. Animal by-products (i.e. dairy, eggs) are allowed.
Pescetarians follow a lacto-ovo vegetarian lifestyle, but they also eat fish and shellfish. For vegans, all animals and animal by-products are off limits (including eggs and dairy).
Source for Today’s Article:
Satija, A., et al., “Plant-Based Dietary Patterns and Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in US Men and Women: Results from Three Prospective Cohort Studies,” PLoS Medicine, June 14, 2016; http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002039.