Scientists from the University of Córdoba and elsewhere found that plant-based protein foods may help reverse type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is a condition that affects how your body processes sugar, leading to high levels of sugar in your blood.
Diabetes remission is a term used when a person’s blood sugar levels return to normal without the need for medication.
This can happen in some cases when a person loses a significant amount of weight through bariatric surgery or low-calorie diets.
Recently, there has been evidence suggesting that increasing the intake of plant-based protein could reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The current study was conducted to examine if changes in plant protein intake in the context of two healthy diets without weight loss or glucose-lowering medication could help with diabetes remission in people with coronary heart disease.
The study included newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes people who were not on glucose-lowering treatment. They were assigned to consume either a Mediterranean or a low-fat diet.
Diabetes remission was assessed according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommendation after a follow-up of about 60 months.
The researchers collected information on the patient’s dietary intake using food-frequency questionnaires.
In the first year of the intervention, 177 patients were classified based on changes in their plant protein intake.
The researchers then performed an analysis to examine the association between protein intake and diabetes remission.
The results showed that patients who increased their plant protein intake were more likely to achieve diabetes remission than those who decreased their intake.
The hazard ratio (HR) for diabetes remission was 1.71, showing that the likelihood of remission was 71% higher for those who increased their plant protein intake.
The remission occurred mainly in the first and second year of follow-up, with fewer patients achieving remission in the third year onwards.
Interestingly, the increase in plant protein intake was also associated with a lower intake of animal protein, cholesterol, saturated fatty acids, and fat.
At the same time, there was a higher intake of whole grains, fiber, carbohydrates, legumes, and tree nuts.
These findings suggest that increasing the intake of plant-based protein may help reverse type 2 diabetes in the context of healthy diets without weight loss.
The study’s results highlight the importance of dietary therapy in managing type 2 diabetes and support the notion that plant-based diets can play a significant role in the prevention and treatment of this condition.
The research was published in the European Journal of Nutrition and was conducted by Francisco M Gutierrez-Mariscal et al.
Copyright © 2023 Scientific Diet. All rights reserved.