Vegetarian diets seem to boost insulin sensitivity

According to studies published in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, adults who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, may improve their insulin sensitivity and beta-cell function, even when controlling for BMI.

“It has been suggested that vegetarian diet may have a potential protective effect on the prevention and treatment of diabetes and its complications,” Xiuhua Shen, MD, PhD, of the department of nutrition in the School of Public Health at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, and colleagues wrote.

Researchers were trying to answer the question whether vegetarian diets increase insulin sensitivity due to weight loss or is it a result off the plant based diet itself?

279 vegetarians and 279 matched omnivores, were gathered for the study. The group was further divided to include those observing a vegan diet. Fasting blood samples were collected to assess glucose and insulin levels. The vegetarians had a overall lower percentage of obesity and average BMI. “Vegetarians also had a 1.4% proportion of insulin resistance compared with a 4.7% proportion in omnivores (P < .05), the researchers reported.”

“A plant-based diet with a variety of foods rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants, which may have a direct effect on alleviating inflammation and oxidative stress, may account for the higher insulin sensitivity in vegetarians, and especially vegans,” the researchers wrote. “Vegetarians, especially vegans, may be in a healthier insulin sensitivity status than omnivores, which is not completely accounted for by the difference of BMI.” – by Phil Neuffer

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To learn more: Vegetarian diets show potential for boosting insulin sensitivity – Healio

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