A prescription to prevent diabetes? Research is leaning toward a vegan diet as a first step.
A new study published in Nutrients shows that eating a plant-based versus meat-based diet increased insulin production after eating a meal.
The study lasted for 16 weeks, during which subjects either ate tofu burgers or meat burgers. Both burger options were comparable in nutrients and calories.
Study participants consisted of 20 men with type 2 diabetes ranging from age 30 to 65. Those who ate the vegan tofu burgers had better postprandial (after-meal) insulin production than those who ate the meat burgers. Men who ate the vegan meal also benefited from better beta-cell function and increased C-peptide, amylin, and incretin hormones. These gut hormones are very important in regulating blood sugar, satiety (feeling full), and weight.
These factors were even improved after one single vegan meal.
The new study confirms the results of previous studies which showed that eating a vegan diet can improve insulin sensitivity and beta-cell function in those who are overweight.
What is a vegan diet?
A vegan diet generally avoids all foods that derive from animals, including fish, milk, eggs and honey. There are different forms of veganism, from whole-food to raw-food, to other variations.
Those who follow a vegan diet tend to be healthier and have a lower BMI than those who eat meat. Vegans often make the choice due to health reasons, ethical reasons, or environmental reasons.
The results of this study and those like it reveal that perhaps eating a vegan, fiber-rich diet should be a first course of action before medication or surgery for those with type 2 diabetes — possibly preventing and even reversing the condition.