Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, have conducted a study analyzing nine separate studies involving 307,099 participants with 23,544 cases of type 2 diabetes. Through their analysis, they found that there is a significant decrease in the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes for those following a plant-based diet.
What makes this study unlike others that came before it is the fact that the study also differentiated between healthy and less healthy plant-based foods. Foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes made up the healthy category, while the less healthy category was made up of potatoes, white flour, sugar, and modest amounts of animal products.
Nutritionist and senior author Qi Sun stated, “Higher adherence to plant-based eating habits was associated with lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, especially when only healthy plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts, were included in the definition of plant-based.” Sun added, “Overall, these data highlighted the importance of adhering to plant-based diets to achieve or maintain good health.”
The researchers explained that the reason a diet consisting of healthy plant-based foods reduces the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes comes down to the fact that these foods improve sensitivity to insulin, reduce weight gain, combat inflammation, and are rich in antioxidants that protect against diabetes.