Scientists from the University of Toronto and elsewhere found that eating the plant-predominant Portfolio, DASH, and Mediterranean diets may help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes in older women.
More than 37 million Americans have diabetes (about 1 in 10), and approximately 90-95% of them have type 2 diabetes. With type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t use insulin well and can’t keep blood sugar at normal levels.
Type 2 diabetes symptoms often develop over several years and can go on for a long time without being noticed (sometimes there aren’t any noticeable symptoms at all).
A plant-based dietary pattern, the Portfolio Diet, has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and other heart disease risk factors.
However, no study has examined the association of this diet with incident type 2 diabetes.
In the current study, researchers aimed to solve the issue.
They used data from 145,299 older women free of diabetes at the beginning of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Clinical Trials and Observational Study from 1993 to 2021.
Adherence to the diet was tested with a score based on six components (high in plant protein [soy and pulses], nuts, viscous fiber, plant sterols, and monounsaturated fat and low in saturated fat and cholesterol) determined from a food questionnaire.
The team tested the association of the Portfolio Diet, alongside the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) and Mediterranean diets, with the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Over a follow-up of 16 years, there were 13,943 cases of type 2 diabetes.
The team found that compared with people with the highest adherence to the three diets, people with the lowest adherence had higher type 2 diabetes risks.
These findings were reduced by 10% after additional adjustment for BMI (an indicator of obesity).
Based on the findings, the team concludes that greater adherence to the plant-predominant Portfolio, DASH, and Mediterranean diets are linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes in older women.
The research was published in Diabetes Care and conducted by Andrea J Glenn et al.
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