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New Study - Vegan Diet Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

By Trudi Purdy, wlr team

Key takeaways

  • Plant-based diet could help reduce your waistline
  • And your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes

According to Diabetes UK, NHS spending on diabetes is predicted to reach £16.9 billion by 2035. If current trends continue, that means 1 in 10 adults (4.9 million people) in the UK alone will be living with type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin to maintain a normal blood glucose level, or the body isn’t able to use the insulin that is produced (insulin resistance). Obesity is a big risk factor in developing type 2 diabetes.

A recent study published in Nutrients by a Physicians for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) research team, showed that a plant-based diet improves insulin sensitivity and beta-cell function in overweight adults.

The study randomly assigned participants, who were overweight and had no history of diabetes, to an intervention or control group in a 1:1 ratio. For 16 weeks, participants in the intervention group followed a low-fat vegan diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes with no calorie limit. The control group made no diet changes. Neither group changed exercise or medication routines.

"The study has important implications for diabetes prevention," says lead study author Hana Kahleova, M.D., Ph.D.

Kahleova went on to say,

"If nothing changes, our next generation, the first expected to live shorter lives than their parents, is in trouble. Fortunately, this study adds to the growing evidence that food really is medicine and that eating a healthful plant-based diet can go a long way in preventing diabetes."

Previous studies have shown that plant-based diets not only have the power to prevent and reverse type 2 diabetes, but that they also lead to weight loss, improved cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and less heart disease.

What can you do?

Knowing the vast benefits of a plant-based diet, many countries are recommending citizens limit their meat intake.

Belgium’s new food guidelines put vegetables and plant-proteins at the top of the pyramid.

The UK government has also recommended citizens consume less dairy and the Netherlands released a new set of dietary guidelines that recommend limits on meat due to sustainability concerns.

The Chinese government also released a set of dietary guidelines that have the potential to see the country’s consumption of meat drop by 50 percent.

We’re not suggesting that you suddenly cut out all animal products from your diet. But looking at what you are currently eating and making sure there is more plant-based food and less meat on your menu is a good start. You could try being meat-free on a couple of days a week and see how you feel, maybe increasing the amount of days over time? The added bonus is that fruit and vegetables are generally lower in calories than meat and dairy so you may find yourself losing weight without even trying!

A food diary will help you see where you could make changes to your menu. Write down everything you eat and drink for a couple of weeks and then take a look. You can use the food diary and extensive food database at WLR to help with this.

We also have delicious vegetarian and vegan eating plans that you can follow as well as 100s of recipes to try.

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A Plant-Based Dietary Intervention Improves Beta-Cell Function and Insulin Resistance in Overweight Adults: A 16-Week Randomized Clinical Trial

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