It is common knowledge that eating fruits and vegetables is essential to maintain a healthy body.
It is also becoming clear, as research mounts, that a diet featuring fewer animal products is also a healthier option.
Vegetarianism and diabetes
The latest study in this vein once again looked at the effect of a vegetarian diet on diabetes. However, this study also looked at the quality of the vegetarian diet.
They took into account whether the vegetarian diet was high in nutritious plant- based foods, such as whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables, and contrasted it with less healthy vegetarian diets that included items like refined grains, potatoes, and sweetened beverages.
The team, headed up by Ambika Satija, also collated information about the amount of animal-based foods that the participants consumed.
In all, the study used data from more than 20,000 male and female health professionals across the United States over a 20-year period. The participants filled out regular questionnaires covering diet, medical history, current diagnoses, and lifestyle.
To evaluate each individual’s diet, the team used a plant-based diet index; animal-derived foods were given low scores, whereas plant-derived foods received higher scores.
The team found that a diet low in animal products, but high in plant products, reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by 20 percent.
When the researchers split the plant-based diets into healthier and unhealthier versions, they found that it impacted heavily on the risk of type 2 diabetes. Healthy plant-based diets produced a 34 percent reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, and the less healthy plant-based diets were linked to a 16 percent increased risk of the condition.
This implies that abstaining from animal products is not sufficient to stave off type 2 diabetes. Simply skipping the unhealthier items is not enough; it is important to make sure that healthier plant-based food items are included in the diet.
“A shift to a dietary pattern higher in healthful plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and lower in animal- based foods, especially red and processed meats, can confer substantial health benefits in reducing risk of type 2 diabetes.”