Can diet prevent and treat diabetes?

Diabetes was the #7 cause of death in the US in 2019 [1] so I think many people are looking for ways on how to prevent and treat diabetes. That’s why in this article we will answer the question of whether diabetes can be prevented or cured simply by changing your diet.

How to prevent and treat diabetes based on science?

A randomized clinical trial comparing results of low-fat vegan diet and a diet following the American Diabetes Association (ADA) guidelines in individuals with type 2 diabetes showed that both diets improved glycemic and lipid control in type 2 diabetes patients. These improvements were greater with a low-fat vegan diet though [2].

43% of the participants in the vegan group and 26% of the participants in the ADA group reduced diabetes medications [2].

According to one more scientific study, a plant-based diet is indeed associated with a reduced risk of diabetes and may also help treat diabetes, and type 2 diabetes in particular [3].

Meta-analyses of 3 prospective cohort studies including 200727 participants compared the impact on the risk of developing diabetes of several diets:

  1. Diet containing processed food, meat and other animal products;
  2. Healthy plant-based diet containing whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, tea/coffee;
  3. Unhealthy plant-based diet containing potatoes, processed grains, sugary drinks, fruit juices, and other desserts [4].

A study determined that a plant-based diet with minimal animal products reduced the risk of developing diabetes by about 20% [4].

Eating a diet containing only healthy plant foods reduced the risk of developing diabetes by 34%, while eating unhealthy plant foods increased the risk of developing diabetes by 16% [4]!

Another study also confirms that a plant-based, healthy diet can prevent type 2 diabetes [5].


Scientific research shows that a healthy plant-based diet can not only prevent diabetes but also treat it. So what’s the diet to prevent and treat diabetes? Well, if you want to prevent or even treat diabetes then you should focus on eating more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes instead of meat and other animal products, processed grains, potatoes, fruit juices, etc.

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Also, a healthy plant-based diet can reduce the risk of some other diseases, but we will talk about this in the next articles.

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