New research suggests the more plant foods you eat, the lower your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Individuals who ate a mostly plant-based diet decreased their risk of diabetes by 23%, the analysis found.
The association was stronger — a 30% drop in the risk of type 2 diabetes for people who ate healthy plant-based foods, including vegetables, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains.
Thus, what is not a particularly healthy plant food? Processed foods and foods with added sugar. The researchers also didn’t contain starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, in their healthy-choices list.
“A diet that is wholesome is very beneficial in cutting the risk of type 2 diabetes,” stated the review’s senior author, Dr. Qi Sun. He’s an associate professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.
And the more healthy plant foods, the more the greater, Sun said. However, “you should be picky about what kinds of foods you count as wholesome,” he added.
Sun also clarified that a diet doesn’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to be more healthy. He said it is a fantastic idea to minimize animal protein, but options like poultry, fish, and yogurt can nevertheless be part of a healthful diet.
The analysis didn’t spell out precisely why a mostly plant-based diet seemed to lower type 2 diabetes threat. The researchers manipulated the data to account for weight, but Sun said people who eat more plant-based foods may maintain a healthy weight, leading to a decrease in diabetes risk.
Sun also clarified that a diet doesn’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to be more healthy.
He said it is also possible that beneficial compounds, such as antioxidants and beneficial plant oils, might help boost insulin sensitivity or reduce inflammation. If you are eating more plant foods, then you are probably eating fewer animal products. And that lowers the amount of potentially harmful substances you eat, such as cholesterol, saturated fat, and sodium.
The review included nine nourishment studies released between 2008 and 2018. These studies included more than 300,000 individuals, almost 24,000 of whom had type 2 diabetes. The researchers analyzed the nutrition information given by study volunteers.
While the researchers found a link between plant-based foods and reduced odds of diabetes, the authors noted that the study wasn’t designed to locate a definitive cause-and-effect link.
However, registered dietician and diabetes educator Maudene Nelson from Columbia Health at New York City wasn’t surprised by the findings.
“I really like the thought of folks eating more vegetables, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. But when folks hear that they should eat a mostly plant-based diet, they also imagine that as eating a big head of broccoli,” she said.
And, while you can eat as much broccoli as you like, Nelson stated a healthy, largely plant-based diet can consist of lots of appealing options — a straightforward one is apples and peanut butter. Her favorite is a vegetable-filled gumbo. A kebob with many more veggies than beef also fits the bill.
“It is not exactly what you eat, but also how much,” Nelson added. So going for sausage for dinner can be a healthy option, but in the event that you then eat half a chicken instead, you’ll lose those advantages. When it comes to protein resources, she recommended ingesting no more than half a day. That’s about the size of 2 decks of playing cards.
Sun suggested that it is okay to have red meat or processed meats such as bacon or cold cuts as an occasional treat. He recommended limiting them to no more than one serving a week.
The study findings were published online on July 22 at JAMA Internal Medicine.