Boston, MA – People who follow predominantly plant-based diets with greater adherence may have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who follow these diets with lower adherence, according to a new meta-analysis from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The researchers also found that the association was stronger for people whose diets emphasized healthy plant-based foods.
The study was published online July 22, 2019 in JAMA Internal Medicine.
“Plant-based dietary patterns are gaining popularity in recent years, so we thought it was crucial to quantify their overall association with diabetes risk, particularly since these diets can vary substantially in terms of their food composition,” said first author Frank Qian, who conducted the research as a masters student in the Department of Nutrition.
While previous studies have suggested that plant-based dietary patterns may help lower type 2 diabetes risk, there has been a lack of research analyzing the overall body of epidemiological evidence. According to the researchers, the current study provides the most comprehensive evidence to date for the association between adherence to healthy plant-based diets and reduced type 2 diabetes risk.
The researchers identified nine studies that looked at this association and were published through February 2019. Their meta-analysis included health data from 307,099 participants with 23,544 cases of type 2 diabetes. They analyzed adherence to an “overall” predominantly plant-based diet, which could include a mix of healthy plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes, but also less healthy plant-based foods such as potatoes, white flour, and sugar, and modest amounts of animal products. The researchers also looked at “healthful” plant-based diets, which were defined as those emphasizing healthy plant-based foods, with lower consumption of unhealthy plant-based foods.
The researchers found that people with the highest adherence to overall predominantly plant-based diets had a 23% lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared to those with weaker adherence to the diets. They also found that the association was strengthened for those who ate healthful plant-based diets.
One mechanism that may explain the association between predominantly plant-based diets and reduced type 2 diabetes risk, according to the researchers, is that healthy plant-based foods have been shown to individually and jointly improve insulin sensitivity and blood pressure, reduce weight gain, and alleviate systemic inflammation, all of which can contribute to diabetes risk.
“Overall, these data highlighted the importance of adhering to plant-based diets to achieve or maintain good health, and people should choose fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, tofu, and other healthy plant foods as the cornerstone of such diets,” said senior author Qi Sun, associate professor in the Department of Nutrition.
Bible verses for today’s meditation and inspiration: Matthew E. McLaren
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10 NIV
deliverance You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of. Psalm 32:7 NIV
So that I Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15 NIV
may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed. Romans 15:32 NIV
Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart. Psalm 119:111 NIV
But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6 NIV
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6 NIV
For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory. Psalm 149:4 NIV
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 1 Timothy 6:17 NIV
The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him. Proverbs 23:24 NIV
I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. Psalm 119:14 NIV
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” Matthew 17:5 NIV
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