KUALA LUMPUR, July 23 — Eating a plant-based diet may lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes by up to 30 per cent, a study found.
CNN reported that consuming only healthy plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts every day, instead of refined grains, starches, and sugars, was even more beneficial when it came to reduced risk of the lifestyle disease, according to the research published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine on Monday.
“We found that eating plant-based diets was associated with, on average, 23 per cent reduction in diabetes risk,” Dr Qi Sun, an associate professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston and senior author of the paper, was quoted saying.
“We further showed that individuals who consumed a healthy version of the plant-based diet by emphasising the intake of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes, and minimising intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and refined carbohydrates, had a further 30 per cent reduction in their risk of developing type 2 diabetes,” he said.
“I would describe these risk reductions as being quite significant.”
Dr Sun’s paper defined a “plant-based diet” as a diet ranging from vegan and vegetarian diets, and those that emphasised eating plant-based foods but did not exclude animal products.
“Keep in mind that many healthy eating patterns, such as Mediterranean diet or DASH diet, are also largely plant-based. For people who already practice these diets, I think they are on the right path.”
According to the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in 10 people in the US have diabetes and up to 95 per cent of them have Type 2 diabetes.
The new study reviewed nine previously published studies Type 2 diabetes among adults and plant-based eating habits, which included 23,544 cases of the disease.
The link between a plant-based diet and lower risk of Type 2 diabetes was reportedly consistent across age groups and body mass index.