By eating more plant-rich foods, a plant-eating diet can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, a new study finds.
Researchers looked at more than 3,500 adults and compared their metabolic health to that of people who ate the plant-centered diet.
The study, published in the journal Nutrients, found that the plant food diet was associated with a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Researchers said the results were interesting because they didn’t include information on whether the participants were obese or overweight, which might affect the results.
“The association of plant-eaters and type 2 diabetics is not as strong as the association between people who are obese or have other risk factors,” said lead author Jennifer M. D’Agostino, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder.
“This suggests that this type of dietary change may help to improve the metabolic profile and health of individuals who are overweight or obese.”
The researchers looked at information on the participants’ metabolic profile before and after a plant based diet.
They found that people who were plant-oriented had lower levels of triglycerides, LDL, and apoB, which can be associated with diabetes.
People who ate more plant foods had lower triglycerides and higher levels of HDL, which help regulate blood pressure.
People who ate less plant foods also had lower apoA-I levels, which are known to be linked to cardiovascular risk.
Researchers also found that those who ate a plant diet had lower fasting triglycerides (also known as the “good cholesterol”) and lower levels in the fasting blood glucose.
The study looked at whether the results would be similar in people who followed a more animal-based, plant-centric diet.
“It is important to note that plant-only diets are not equivalent to animal-only dietary interventions, such as a vegan diet,” D’Abostino said.
“The difference in these diets is not substantial, but is related to how plant foods are consumed and the nature of their nutrient composition.”
The study did not address the role that animal products might have in promoting type 2 disease.
The researchers said the findings suggest that people may be better able to avoid or manage type 2 Diabetes with a plant/animal-based dietary approach.
“We can make a lifestyle change to improve metabolic health,” D.D. wrote.
“Whether or not a plant focused diet is effective for prevention of Type II Diabetes is still being investigated.”SOURCE: michael d’agostino et al, Plant-based diets improve metabolic profile, Nutrients (2016).