The EAT-Lancet diet could help lower risk of type 2 diabetes

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Scientists from Xi’an Jiaotong University and elsewhere found that eating the EAT-Lancet diet may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.

In 2019, the EAT-Lancet Commission proposed a mainly plant-based diet that nurtures human health and supports environmental sustainability.

The diet emphasizes a plant-forward diet where whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes comprise a greater proportion of foods consumed.

Meat and dairy constitute important parts of the diet but in significantly smaller proportions than whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes.

In addition to the targets set within each section, the dietary targets also suggest that the average adult requires 2500 kcal per day.

While this amount will vary based on age, gender, activity levels, and health profiles, overconsumption is a waste of food with both health and environmental costs.

However, the association of diet with type 2 diabetes has not been widely studied. It remains unclear whether genetic susceptibility for type 2 diabetes can modify this association.

In the current study, researchers aimed to examine the association between the EAT-Lancet diet and the risk of type 2 diabetes and assess whether the association differs by the genetic predisposition to type 2 diabetes.

They used data from a total of 24,494 participants from the Malmö Diet and Cancer study.

The team examined dietary intake, and an EAT-Lancet diet index (range from 0 to 42 points) was created based on the EAT-Lancet reference diet.

During 24.3 years of follow-up, the team found 4197 (17.1 %) type 2 diabetes cases.

Compared with people with the lowest adherence to the EAT-Lancet diet, people who had the highest adherence showed an 18 % lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

There was no strong interaction between genetic predisposition to type 2 diabetes and the EAT-Lancet diet index.

Also, no strong additive interaction between the genetic risk and the EAT-Lancet diet was found.

The highest risk was found in 22.9 % of the people with high genetic risk and low EAT-Lancet diet scores.

Based on the findings, the team concludes that high adherence to the EAT-Lancet diet is linked to a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes among people with different genetic risks.

The research was published in Metabolism and conducted by Shunming Zhang et al.

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