The secretion of insulin and incretin hormones for those with type 2 diabetes increases when consumed a plant-based diet, reveals new research. The study is published in the journal Nutrients.
Researchers compared the effects of a plant-based meal to a meal containing meat on the hormone levels of a group of 20 men who have type 2 diabetes in a randomized crossover trial. The meals consisted of either a tofu-based veggie burger or a meat-based burger and contained the same amount of calories and ratio of macronutrients.
‘With the rising cases of diabetes all over the world and soaring costs of managing the disease, the studys findings offer a viable solution of consuming a plant-based diet for treating type 2 diabetes.’
The results show that participants' postprandial secretion of insulin increased more after the plant-based meal than the meat-based meal. Secretion of incretin hormones, particularly glucagon-like-peptide 1 (GLP-1), also increased more after the vegan meal. Incretin hormones amplify the release of insulin after a meal and also help decrease blood glucose levels.
Beta-cell function parameters also improved after the vegan meal. Beta cells synthesize, store, and release insulin. Beta-cell function is typically diminished in those who have diabetes, and preserving beta cells' capacity to produce insulin is a cornerstone in the treatment of diabetes.
"With diabetes rates rising and insulin costs soaring, this study offers hope that a solution could be close at hand: the food on our plates," says study author Hana Kahleova, M.D., Ph.D., director of clinical research at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. "The results add to the evidence that a plant-based diet should be considered a frontline treatment for type 2 diabetes."
A previous study found that a 16-week plant-based dietary intervention improves insulin resistance and beta-cell function in overweight adults. Other studies have shown that plant-based diets are effective in managing and even reversing type 2 diabetes and that those following a plant-based diet have approximately half the risk of developing diabetes, compared with non-vegetarians.
In the United States today, more than 114 million adults have either diabetes or prediabetes.