Plant-Based Dietary Patterns and Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes.: Results from Three Prospective Cohort Studies
•Ambika Satija ,Shilpa N. Bhupathiraju,Eric B. Rimm,
•Donna Spiegelman,Stephanie E. Chiuve,Lea Borgi,
•Walter C. Willett,JoAnn E. Manson,Qi Sun,Frank B. Hu
Plant-based diets have been recommended to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D). However, not all plant foods are necessarily beneficial. We examined the association of an overall plant-based diet and hypothesized healthful and unhealthful versions of a plant-based diet with T2D incidence in three prospective cohort studies in the US.
Our study suggests that plant-based diets, especially when rich in high-quality plant foods, are associated with substantially lower risk of developing T2D. This supports current recommendations to shift to diets rich in healthy plant foods, with lower intake of less healthy plant and animal foods.
Why Was This Study Done?
•Plant-based diets, mainly defined as “vegetarian” diets, have been associated with improved health outcomes, including reduced risk of diabetes.
•However, vegetarian diets can include less healthy plant foods, such as sweetened foods and beverages, which are detrimental for health. Also, as it would be difficult for many individuals to completely give up some or all animal foods to become vegetarian, it is important to understand how gradually increasing plant foods, while decreasing animal foods, affects diabetes risk.
•Thus, in this study, we aimed to understand how gradations of adherence to different types of plant-based diets (healthful and unhealthful) are associated with diabetes risk.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
•We analyzed data from three studies that followed more than 200,000 male and female health professionals across the US for more than 20 y, regularly collecting information on their diet, lifestyle, medical history, and new disease diagnoses.
•We found that having a diet that emphasized plant foods and was low in animal foods was associated with a reduction of about 20% in the risk of diabetes.
•Consumption of a plant-based diet that emphasized specifically healthy plant foods was associated with a larger decrease (34%) in diabetes risk, while consumption of a plant-based diet high in less healthy plant foods was associated with a 16% increased diabetes risk.
What Do These Findings Mean?
•Increasing intake of healthy plant foods while moderately reducing intake of some animal foods, especially red and processed meats, may be beneficial for diabetes prevention.
•These findings support the newly released 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
•Published: June 14, 2016
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