Consuming a plant-based diet is associated with a 23-percent lower chance of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a study published this week in scientific journal JAMA Internal Medicine. The meta-analysis was conducted by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health who examined nine studies published through February 2019 that focused on the connection between diet and diabetes. “Plant-based dietary patterns are gaining popularity in recent years, so we thought it was crucial to quantify their overall association with diabetes risk, particularly since these diets can vary substantially in terms of their food composition,” study author Frank Qian said. The researchers analyzed the dietary patterns of 307,099 participants with 23,544 cases of type 2 diabetes and found that those who adhered to a whole foods, plant-based diet—compared to participants who consumed a less healthful plant-based diet or a diet that contained some animal products—had the lowest risk for developing type 2 diabetes. “Overall, [this] data highlighted the importance of adhering to plant-based diets to achieve or maintain good health, and people should choose fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, tofu, and other healthy plant foods as the cornerstone of such diets,” the study’s senior author Qi Sun said.

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