4. Adopt Vegan Diet to Reduce Diabetes

The potential benefits of eating a plant-based diet have expanded once again. A new paper concludes that, for people with diabetes, cutting out animal products improves glucose control and well-being in addition to boosting weight loss.

The most recent study to scrutinize the effects of a reduced meat intake considered its impact on people with diabetes. Specifically, the scientists wanted to understand whether reducing animal-based food intake could help improve both glucose control and overall psychological well-being. To investigate this, they reanalyzed and combined data from existing studies.

It is possible to moderate the negative impact of type 2 diabetes with medication and lifestyle changes, but, without proper control, there can be severe consequences. For example, diabetes increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, nephropathy (kidney damage), and vision loss. The psychological aspects of diabetes can create a negative spiral, as depression makes it more difficult for people to eat healthfully, exercise regularly, and follow medication routines. This causes stress, which can make depression worse.

There is scientific evidence that eating large quantities of red meat increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Similarly, research has shown that a diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds but low in animal products can reduce the risk of developing this disease. Consequently, experts now consider a plant-based diet to be the best option. Although the links between a plant-based diet and the physical impact of diabetes are fairly well-documented, fewer studies record the psychological effects of these dietary changes.

To this end, the researchers carried out a review. In total, they found 11 relevant randomized control trials with a total of 433 participants. The result of their meta-analysis was featured recently in the journal BMJ. Plant-based diets were associated with significant improvement in emotional well-being, physical well-being, depression, quality of life, general health, HbA1c levels, weight, total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, compared with several diabetic associations’ official guidelines and other comparator diets.

The analysis thus demonstrated that plant-based diets can significantly improve psychological health, quality of life, HbA1c levels and weight and therefore the management of diabetes. In six of the studies that the researchers analyzed, individuals who followed the plant-based or vegan diets were able to either stop taking or reduce their medication for diabetes or blood pressure. “Progressing towards a plant-based diet has a significant impact on both the physical and emotional health of individuals with diabetes, it is an intervention worth investigating thoroughly”, the authors say.

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