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plant based diet, diabetes, vegan diet diabetes study

A Plant-Based Diet Lowers Type 2 Risk by 23 Percent

Researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health analyzed nine different studies that researched a plant-based diet for diabetes. Their findings revealed that those who eat a plant-based diet are 23 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes

All of the studies combined involved 307,099 patients, of whom 23,544 had type 2 diabetes. 

How does a plant-based diet help?

Plant-based or vegan diets reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity and blood pressure, reducing weight gain, and alleviating systemic inflammation. 

The author of the study, Dr. Qi Sun, said, “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,” The study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine

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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 to eat a vegan diet for health reasons, ethical reasons, or environmental reasons.

For the purposes of this study, the diets were plant-based, healthy diets mostly based on whole and non-processed foods, with some animal protein and carbs included. 

What you can do

Here are some tips for moving toward a plant-based diet in your daily life:

  • Build your meals around a salad instead of a carb. Start with leafy greens, and then add fresh vegetables, beans, tofu, or a small amount of turkey or chicken if you want to include some animal protein.
  • Up your vegetable intake. Eating many different types of vegetables will fill you up and keep you healthy. Choose veggies instead of chips for dipping.
  • Eat meat sparingly. Add your choice of lean meat in small portions. 
  • Remember your greens. Try to include green leafy vegetables as often as you can. Kale, collards, and spinach are good options.
  • Pick fruit for dessert. Rather than your typical dessert options, select strawberries, peaches, blueberries, apples, or whatever you prefer to satisfy your nighttime sweet tooth. 

To adhere to a plant-based diet, make conscious choices to avoid carbs and processed foods, and acknowledge that what you put in your mouth directly affects your health.