Vegan diet protects against diabetes

| Post published on April 30, 2016
minute reading time

New study shows how a healthy vegan diet can cut your risk of type 2 diabetes in half

This was the first study to distinguish not just between animal and plant-based diets but also between healthy and unhealthy plant-based diets. Healthy foods included wholegrains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, pulses, vegetable oils, tea and coffee; whilst unhealthy foods included animal products, fruit juices, sweetened beverages, refined grains (white bread, cornflakes etc.), potatoes, sweets and desserts.

The researchers followed more than 200,000 people for more than 20 years, evaluating their diets and health. The results revealed that predominantly plant-based diets were associated with a 20 per cent reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Eating a healthy plant-based diet was linked with an impressive 34 per cent lower risk but diets high in unhealthy, sugary plant-based foods actually increased the risk by 16 per cent.

People whose diets were almost entirely vegan and based on healthy foods had the lowest risk – as much as 50 per cent lower compared to the average diet. The researchers suggested that healthful plant-based diets could be reducing type 2 diabetes risk because they contain so many beneficial nutrients – fibre, antioxidants, unsaturated fats, vitamins and minerals – and contribute to healthy gut bacteria that promote overall health.

Find out more about preventing and treating type 2 diabetes through diet on our website Diabetes or order our diabetes guide on 0117 944 1000.

Satija A et al., 2016. Plant-Based Dietary Patterns and Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in US Men and Women: Results from Three Prospective Cohort Studies. PLoS Medicine. 13(6):e1002039.

About the author
Dr. Justine Butler
I joined Viva! as a health campaigner in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. My scientific training helped me research and write numerous reports, guides and fact sheets for Viva! including Meat the Truth, Fish-Free for Life, One in Nine (breast cancer and diet) and the substantial report on the detrimental health effects of consuming dairy; White Lies. This accompanied Viva!’s report The Dark Side of Dairy which spelt out the inherent cruelty of dairy farming. We were the first UK group to take on the dairy industry in this way, and many of our supporters go vegan after reading these reports.

View author page | View staff profile

You might also like...

Scroll up