According to a study, not all plant-based diets help fight diabetes and weight gain CNN

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A plant-based diet can do wonders for your health. Studies have shown that limiting red meat and eating whole grains, legumes, and a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables can lower cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular disease, prevent type 2 diabetes, and even extend human lifespans, not to mention life on the planet.

In the prevention of diabetes, however, these benefits can only be seen if a plant-based diet is healthy and limits highly processed or sugary foods, says a new study that analyzed 206 different foods.

In a 12-year analysis of the eating habits of more than 113,000 participants in the UK Biobank study, a longitudinal study of the health of the country’s residents, people were divided into four categories based on their intake of fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains.

People in the top 25 percent ate a mostly plant-based diet that was low in sweets, desserts, refined grains and sugary drinks. People in the bottom 25 percent ate much more of these unhealthy plant-based foods.

Compared to people at the lowest levels, those who ate the most whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and limited their intake of unhealthy options reduced their diabetes risk by 24 percent, according to a study published in the journal Diabetes & Metabolism.

People who ate the healthiest diet also had a lower BMI and waist circumference, as well as better blood sugar and lower levels of inflammation.

The study found that the benefit extended to people who are genetically predisposed to diabetes and those who had other risk factors for diabetes, such as obesity.

This data is really important, especially for those who are thought to be at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, because it shows that they can significantly reduce their risk by eating a healthy plant-based diet, said first author Alysha Thompson, a doctoral student at Queens University. Belfast, Northern Ireland, in a statement.

However, people eating the least healthy plant-based diet had a 37 percent higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and had a larger waist circumference and higher levels of triglycerides, a type of cholesterol, the study found.

In fact, obesity was a key mediator that increases the risk of type 2 diabetes in people who follow an unhealthy plant-based diet, said Tilman Khn, a lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast’s Global Food Security Institute and director of public health nutrition in medicine. The University of Vienna in its statement.

How does a healthy plant-based diet help protect the body from type 2 diabetes? Khn said it affects several anti-diabetic mechanisms, including blood sugar and lipid levels and lowers body fat.

Another finding was the important role of the kidneys and liver in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, said researcher Aedn Cassidy, a professor at Queen University Belfast’s Institute for Global Food Security.

We have shown for the first time that improvements in both metabolism and liver and kidney function as a result of a healthy plant-based diet may explain how this diet may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, Cassidy said in a statement.

Although the study only found an association, not direct cause and effect, the findings were interesting, said Duane Mellor, a registered dietitian and senior lecturer at Aston Medical School in Birmingham, UK, in a statement to the Science Media Center in London. .

The analysis looked at liver health and other measures of inflammation and looked at how they might relate to diet and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, said Mellor, who was not involved in the study. This suggests several possible designs for future research to truly assess whether this type of plant-based diet can actually reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

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