According to new research, people who consume more of a plant-based diet have a reduced risk of developing diabetes. The study published in the Journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes found that healthy plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and coffee, are associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D) and can help support diabetes prevention.
Type 2 diabetes poses a significant threat to health globally. The prevalence of the disease in adults has more than tripled in less than two decades. There are numerous complications associated with type 2 diabetes, including cardiovascular disease and damage to the microvascular system, including the kidneys, eyes, and the nervous system.
Diabetes is primarily caused by unhealthy diets, obesity, genetic predisposition, and other lifestyle factors such as a lack of exercise. Previous research has found that plant-based diets have been associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but the underlying mechanisms have not been fully understood.
For this study, the team analyzed blood plasma samples and dietary intake of 10,684 participants. Each participant was required to complete a food frequency questionnaire to score their adherence to one of three plant-based diets: an overall plant-based index (PDI), a healthy plant-based diet index (hPDI), and an unhealthy plant-based index (uPDI).
Healthy plant-based foods included whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, tea/coffee, and vegetable oils. Unhealthy plant-based foods included refined grains, potatoes, fruit juices, sugar-sweetened beverages, and sweets/desserts.
Researchers found that participants who did not develop type 2 diabetes had a higher intake of healthy plant-based foods and higher scores for PDI and hPDI. Participants also had a lower average BMI and were more likely to have lower rates of high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. They were also less likely to use blood pressure and cholesterol drugs, had less family risk of diabetes, and were more physically active.
Professor Frank Hu explained the mechanics behind the findings saying, “While it is difficult to tease out the contributions of individual foods because they were analyzed together as a pattern, individual metabolites from consumption of polyphenol-rich plant foods like fruits, vegetables, coffee, and legumes are all closely linked to healthy plant-based diet and lower risk of diabetes.”
This study helps to support the beneficial role of healthy plant-based diets and provides new insights for future investigation into the prevention of diabetes. Eating the right foods and getting plenty of essential vitamins and nutrients is vital for preventing and managing blood sugar levels and diabetes.
Health Blood Sugar Support is an excellent way to provide comprehensive support for healthy blood sugar and overall health. It has been shown in human clinical studies to help support blood sugar metabolism, help maintain healthy blood sugar balance, and help to promote healthy cholesterol and glucose levels that are already within the normal range.