Plant-based diets are associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a study published online in Diabetes Care.
Zhangling Chen of Harvard TH Chan School for Public Health in Boston and colleagues used data from the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) [1986 to 2012];; 76,530 women) and NHS II (1991 to 2017; 81,569 women), as well as the follow-up study for health professionals (1986 to 2016; 34,468 men) to examine the relationship between a plant-based diet and the subsequent risk of type 2 diabetes to rate.
The researchers found 12,627 cases of type 2 diabetes during the follow-up period of 2,955,350 person-years. Participants with the greatest decline (> 10 percent) in the plant nutrition index (PDI) and the healthy PDI (hPDI) over four years had a higher risk of diabetes (PDI: Pooled Hazard Ratio) in the following four years [HR]1.12; hPDI: HR, 1.23) compared to participants with stable PDI or hPDI when taking into account initial body mass index and initial and four-year changes in alcohol consumption, smoking, physical activity, and other factors. The risk of diabetes was lower for every 10 percent increment of PDI and hPDI over four years (PDI: HR, 0.93; hPDI: HR, 0.91). No association was found between changes in unhealthy PDI and risk of diabetes. Between 6 and 35.6 percent of the associations between changes in PDI and hPDI and diabetes risk were due to changes in weight.
“The results of the current study not only confirm previous reports, but also show that both four-year and longer-term (eight-year) improvements in following general and healthy plant-based diets are associated with a lower risk of diabetes,” the authors write.
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