Another study was published this week associating plant-based diets with better outcomes for diabetics.
Plant-based diets were associated with significant improvement in emotional well-being, physical well-being, depression, quality of life, general health, HbA1c levels, weight, total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, compared with several diabetic associations’ official guidelines and other comparator diets. Plant-based diets can significantly improve psychological health, quality of life, HbA1c levels and weight and therefore the management of diabetes.
This study was a meta-analysis of other studies, and didn’t attempt to draw a root cause. The timing of the study’s publication fell close to World Vegan Day on November 1st. Personally, I actually believe in variations of plant-based diets, such as ovo-lacto vegetarian diets (milk and eggs OK) because ovo-lacto vegetarian diets allow people to naturally get everything they need from food.
I’m more skeptical of vegan diets for most just because the rules aren’t as simple in the modern world. Anyone thinking about a vegan diet should remember that vegans must also take supplements. Even those who claim that gorillas are naturally vegan without thinking about it have to remember that they supplement naturally by not washing their food. They do end up eating some soil for minerals they don’t get from plants, as well as insects for key nutrients.
Still, I believe in getting most protein from plants. There is certainly the sustainability angle to plant-based diets. The Guardian wrote a very good piece titled “Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth.”
However, if you’re new to this blog, I also recommend you dive into my other posts on the reasons why the right plant-based diets can improve diabetes.
- Gut bacteria. Non-processed plant-based foods contain prebiotics (fiber) and have a positive effect on the composition and the activity of the gut microbiome. There is a strong association between the dysbiosis – imbalance in the gut microbiome – and metabolic diseases, such as diabetes.
- Mitochondrial function. Plant-based foods are rich in many of the micronutrients missing from meat-based diets that are necessary for proper function of the mitochondria, i.e., converting macronutrients into chemical energy in the body. Mitochondrial dysfunction is also strongly associated with metabolic diseases, such as diabetes. Again, the key here is that mitochondrial function is optimal on balanced diets, and ovo-lacto vegetarianism involves fewer supplementation rules to keep track of than being vegan.
Again, I think the recent study has some merit and shares good data. I’d just like to emphasize the “why” which I believe are tied to gut bacteria and our own mitochondrial function as the host. Still, for myself (other than a recent bone broth fast), I’ve switched to mainly an ovo-lacto vegetarian diet, with an occasional “splurge” for meat or fish.