A healthy plant-based diet can reduce a person’s risk of diabetes, according to a new study. Photo by Tesa Photography / Pixabay
April 8 (UPI) – Eating healthy plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, coffee and legumes can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a study published Friday in the journal Diabetologia.
Compared to participants who did not develop type 2 diabetes, those diagnosed with the disease had lower consumption of healthy plant-based foods, as well as lower scores on assessments that measured dietary health, the data showed.
They also had a higher average body weight and were more likely to have elevated blood pressure and cholesterol levels, use medications to lower blood pressure and to lower cholesterol, have a family history of diabetes, and be less physically active, they said. researchers.
“It is difficult to pinpoint the contributions of individual foods because they have been analyzed together as a model,” study co-author Dr Frank Hu said in a press release.
However, “the individual metabolites from consuming polyphenol-rich plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, coffee and legumes are all closely linked to … a lower risk of diabetes,” said Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard TH. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.
The findings are based on an analysis of metabolic profiles related to several plant-based diets, according to the researchers.
A metabolite is a substance used or produced by a living organism and includes thousands of compounds found in different foods, as well as the complex variety of molecules created as they are processed by the body, the researchers said.
Differences in the chemical composition of the foods that people consume mean that an individual’s diet should be reflected in the metabolite profile, and new testing technologies have enabled researchers to identify metabolites present within a biological sample, such as blood. , they claimed.
For this study, Hu and his colleagues analyzed blood plasma samples collected from 10,684 adults, who also provided information on their diet.
Study participants completed food frequency questionnaires that were evaluated based on their adherence to three plant-based diets, the researchers said.
Diet scores were based on participants’ intake of healthy plant foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, vegetable oils and tea and / or coffee, as well as unhealthy plant foods, such as refined grains, juices. fruits, potatoes and sweets, according to the researchers.
Furthermore, the participants were also evaluated on their consumption of “animals-[based] foods, “including animal fats, dairy products, eggs, seafood and meat, the researchers said.
The researchers distinguished between healthy and unhealthy plant foods based on their links to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, and other conditions, including obesity and hypertension, they said.
The data showed that plant-based diets were associated with unique multimetabolite profiles and these patterns differed significantly between healthy and unhealthy plant-based diets.
Higher metabolite profile scores for the overall plant-based diet and the healthy plant-based diet were associated with an up to 20% lower risk of type 2 diabetes in a generally healthy person, regardless of their weight and other factors risk for the disease, the researchers said.
The same was not true of unhealthy plant-based diets, they said.
The data showed that foods with higher levels of metabolites, such as trigonellin, hippurate, isoleucine and some triacylglycerols, also appeared to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Trigonellin, found in coffee, has been found to reduce insulin resistance or the inability of the body’s cells to respond normally to the hormone insulin, the researchers said.
Insulin is a hormone released by the pancreas in response to carbohydrates consumed in foods that allow glucose to enter cells, reducing blood glucose levels, which are elevated in people with diabetes, they said.
About 30 million people in the United States have type 2 diabetes, which puts them at an increased risk for heart disease and some cancers, according to the American Diabetes Association.
Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce a person’s risk for the disease, the association says.
“Our findings support the beneficial role of healthy plant-based diets in diabetes prevention and provide new insights for future investigation,” wrote Hu and his colleagues.