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Reduce Your Risk of Developing Diabetes by Eating Right

The rate of diabetes is dramatically increasing.  Paying attention to research that discovers and recognizes ways to prevent diabetes is valuable.

Harvard University notes the importance of a study on recommendations for healthier diets and preventing diabetes.  This study is somewhat unique.  It provides some of the strongest support for preventing the risk of diabetes to this day.

In order to validate the usefulness of this study, take a little time out to learn more about how important your diet is, and how the impact of the following recommendations can improve your health.prevent diabetes

Prevent Diabetes by Eating Right

For some time now, experts have recommended plant-based diets to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.  However, not all plant foods are necessarily beneficial.

Following up on this recommendation, a team of researchers published a study of more than 200,000 people in the U.S. who participated in health surveys over a 20-year period.

What they found is worth your review.

“People who chose diets that were predominately of plant-based foods developed type 2 diabetes 20 percent less often than the rest of the study subjects.”

“In addition, those with the very healthiest plant-based diets — including vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, and nuts — the reduction in type 2 diabetes was 34 percent.”

Conversely, study participants who made less healthy choices — like refined grains and sugar-sweetened beverages — developed type 2 diabetes 16 percent more often than the rest of the study subjects.

Beneficial Recommendations for the Average Person

This study’s emphasis is not of becoming or being a vegetarian.  And it’s not about following an expensive, pre-packaged diet plan that’s difficult to maintain over time.

This study’s focus and recommendations are of normal dietary choices across a broad range — from largely animal-based to largely plant-based with all variations in between making it more relevant to the average person.

The following are some recommendations to help you prevent developing chronic diseases — like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and cancer.

Up-to- Date Recommendations

The USDA’s current dietary guidelines — called “MyPlate” — recommend everyone to choose healthy foods.  Here are a few examples:

  • Reduce the intake of added sugar, sodium, and saturated fat. Know what you’re eating by reading the nutrition labels.
  • Half of each meal should consist of whole vegetables and fruits.
  • Choose low-fat dairy products like yogurt and low-fat milk, over higher fat options.
  • Depending on your physical activity, size, gender, and age, your diet should consist of a moderate total calorie intake.
  • About a quarter of each of your meals should include protein, and another quarter grains — especially whole grains.

According to the USDA’s website, the MyPlate diet “can help you avoid overweight and obesity and reduce your risk of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.”

Even more recently, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee reported that a diet “that is higher in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and lower in animal-based foods, is more health promoting.”

And US News and World Report ranked plant-based diets — the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet — as the healthiest.

“Healthful” is Subjective

The information in this study about diet was self-reported.  Therefore, some inaccuracies may exist. Additionally, for some foods, the label of “healthful” is, to some extent, subjective.

Studies like this are unable to say that diet is the key reason for the findings.  For example, other factors — like genetics, exercise, or a multitude of a combination of other possibilities — might matter more than just diet.

However, diet is playing an important role.

Keep in mind, you could follow a healthy diet your entire life and still develop diabetes. For that matter, not everyone who chooses an animal-based diet, high in refined sugars will develop diabetes.

Nevertheless, doctors, public health officials, and nutritionists have endorsed these recommendations. According to Harvard University Medical School, this study is among the strongest to date.  It supports the view that a healthy diet can lower your risk of a chronic disease — like diabetes.

This study titled, “Plant-Based Dietary Patterns and Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in US Men and Women: Results from Three Prospective Cohort Studies” is published in PLoS Medicine.

Featured image courtesy of Prawny via Pixabay   | Cropped and Resized | CC-BY-SA-1.0

About the author: George Zapo, CPH is certified in Public Health Promotion and Education (Kent State University). George focuses on providing informative articles promoting healthy behavior and lifestyles.

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