A plant-based diet can prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes in overweight adults, according to a new study.
As part of the study, overweight patients with no history of diabetes switched to a low-fat vegan diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes with no calorie limit for 16 weeks.
A control group made no diet changes. Neither group changed exercise or medication routines.
Based on mathematical modeling, researchers from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine [PCRM] determined that those on a plant-based diet increased meal-stimulated insulin secretion and beta-cell glucose sensitivity, compared to those in the control group.
The plant-based diet group also experienced a decrease in blood sugar levels both while fasting and during meal tests.
Researchers believe the improvements can be attributed to weight loss (including loss of body fat) of the test group, saying their fasting insulin resistance decreased (i.e. improved), and their beta-cell function improved as a result.
PBN interviews PCRM President Dr. Neal Barnard
Lead study author, Hana Kahleova, M.D., Ph.D, said: "The study has important implications for diabetes prevention.
"Type 2 diabetes affects approximately 30 million Americans, with 84 million more suffering from prediabetes.
"If nothing changes, our next generation - the first expected to live shorter lives than their parents - is in trouble.
"A third of young Americans are projected to develop diabetes in their lifetimes.
"Fortunately, this study adds to the growing evidence that food really is medicine and that eating a healthful plant-based diet can go a long way in preventing diabetes."