Type 2 diabetes is one of the most prevalent diseases in the world. This is very alarming since patients who are not able to manage this condition can suffer from a wide range of complications. This includes heart disease, nerve damage, blindness, sleep apnea, and Alzheimer's disease. In addition to these, Type 2 diabetes can take a toll on a patient's psychological health, increasing their risk of depression by up to three times. This can have a significant effect on how they manage and control their disease, especially since depression has been associated with poor blood sugar control.
Diet is an important factor in both the development and the treatment of diabetes. Previous studies have shown that high meat consumption, especially of red and processed meat, is associated with a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes. This suggests that plant-based diets that are free of most or all animal products may be best for diabetics and those who are at risk of the disease. To determine if this was the case, the researchers, who came from various research institutions in the U.K., conducted a systematic review of 11 articles with a total of 433 participants. On average, the trials that were included in the study lasted for 23 weeks.
From the studies, the researchers observed that plant-based or vegan diets led to significant improvements in physical quality of life and emotional well being, as indicated by improvements in depressive symptoms. They also noted that following these diets improved blood sugar levels and reduced nerve pain, which is a common complication caused by diabetes. Furthermore, following a plant-based diet helped the participants lose weight, having an average loss of 5.23 kg compared to the 2.83kg of those who still ate animal products. This is important for diabetes prevention since being overweight or obese is a major contributor to the development of this disease.
Overall, these results indicate that becoming a vegetarian or vegan can help prevent Type 2 diabetes and its complications by helping maintain healthy blood sugar levels. (Related: Diabetes sufferer switched to vegan diet, blood sugar stabilized after 10 days.)
Plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are rich in fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals that are great for your health. By increasing your intake of these foods, you can enjoy many health benefits, including: