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Reducing risk of Diabetes thru Nutrition

I reviewed an article in Medscape reviewing the benefits of a plant-based diet to reduce your risk of diabetes. Here is a summary of the article for you.

Although most of the world continues to eat meat and animal products, the proportion of the population who consume a strictly vegetarian or vegan diet is growing with rates of around 6% in North America. Many individuals follow a vegan or vegetarian diet for health reasons, and a meta-analysis of studies support this motivation. The meta-analysis included 96 studies, and it demonstrated that a vegetarian or vegan diet was associated with an improved lipid profile and serum glucose level when compared with an omnivorous diet. Vegan and vegetarian diets were also associated with lower risks for mortality from cardiovascular disease (CVD) and incident cancer. Not all vegan food is healthy, however. Just because Twinkies are vegan, it doesn’t mean that they are good for you. A diet that is high in processed foods or simple carbohydrates, but vegan diets can still lead to similar rates of myocardial infarction (MI) and stroke, or all-cause mortality.

According to results from a large meta-analysis, middle-aged people who ate more plant-based foods were less likely to develop type-2 diabetes than their peers who ate more meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. Overall, individuals with the highest vs lowest intake of any plant-based foods had a 23% lower risk of developing DM, independent of body mass index (BMI). The data showed that the people with the highest vs lowest intake of healthy plant-based foods (e.g., fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts) had a 30% lower risk for incident diabetes. This was from an online article in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The takeaway message is simple, Kim Allan Williams, Sr, MD, cardiology division chief, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois, told Medscape Medical News in an email: "More plants. Less meat. Less diabetes." Dr Williams also noted that meat and especially processed meat, is associated with more diabetes, heart failure, cancer, hypertension, stroke, hyperlipidemia, heart attacks, and death."

Scientist are finding that a plant-based diet that reduces or eliminates animal intake while increasing intake of healthy whole grain carbohydrates has very favorable effects on our health. The nutrient quality of the food we eat is crucial, where nutrient-rich plant-based foods provided greater benefit than nutrient-poor plant-based foods. Moreover, diets such as the Mediterranean diet emphasize the intake of fruits and vegetables and offers clinical benefit for patients unwilling to fully commit to a plant-based diet. Although a ketogenic diet may lead to weight loss, the data are very mixed regarding its effects on inflammation, lipid parameters, and disease progression. It is important to talk to your Navigator to see if a ketogenic diet is best for you.

Why does a diet high in healthy, nutrient-rich food create a healthy body? Plant-based foods contain fiber, vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, phenolic compounds, and unsaturated fatty acids. These improve insulin sensitivity and blood pressure, reduce long-term weight gain, and ameliorate systemic inflammation, all pathways involved in the creation of insulin resistance. These diets also deemphasize or avoid red and processed meats, which have been shown to adversely affect risk for DM possibly owing to their high heme iron or dietary cholesterol contents.

Here is the link to the article if you wish to review it.

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