Plant-Based Diet Lowers the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes by One-Third, Study Finds
A new study has added more evidence that a plant-based diet can significantly lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. The long-term study, recently released by the Harvard School of Public Health, found that a diet rich in healthy plant foods such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits and nuts, was associated with a considerably lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
More Than 200,000 Americans Studied
The study analyzed information gathered over the course of 20 years, from more than 200,000 male and female health professionals living around the U.S. Researchers followed these individuals and regularly surveyed them about lifestyle, diet, medical history and diagnoses of new diseases. From the data, researchers made the following conclusions.
- Individuals who ate a plant-based diet low in animal foods were 20% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
- Individuals who ate a healthy version of a plant-based diet – which included foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes – experienced a 34% decrease in diabetes risk.
- Individuals who ate a less-healthy version of a plant-based diet – including refined grains, potatoes and sugary beverages – had a 16% increase in diabetes risk.
The study concluded that even a moderate shift toward a plant-based diet can play a role in lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes.
U.S. Dietary Guidelines in Agreement with Study Findings
The findings of this study add support to the latest dietary recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommend that the largest portion of an individual’s diet come from whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and oils. The Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting foods that contain saturated fat, such as butter, whole milk, and red and processed meats.
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