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Vegan diets can improve insulin production in people with 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," said researcher Hana Kahleova.

By Tauren Dyson
Vegan diets can improve insulin production in people with diabetes
A plant-based diet can improve insulin secretion and incretin hormones for people with type 2 diabetes, according to a new study. Photo by Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Diabetics may soon have a new way to improve insulin production, a study says.

A plant-based diet can improve insulin secretion and incretin hormones for people with type 2 diabetes, according to a study published Tuesday in Nutrients.

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"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," Hana Kahleova, director of clinical research at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and study author, said in a news release.

During the 16-week study, participants either ate tofu-based veggie burgers or meat burgers, both consisting of the same amount of calories and nutrient ratio.

Researchers report that the tofu burgers enhanced participant's postprandial insulin secretion more than the meat burger. They vegan meal also improved beta-cell function, which synthesizes, holds and releases insulin.

This is important because diabetes normally damages beta-cell function in people with the condition. On the other hand, incretin hormones help increase insulin secretion while eating and reduce blood glucose levels in the body.

This research backs up a 16-week study from last year that shows a plant-based diet can improve insulin resistance and beta-cell function in overweight adults.

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Other studies show that vegan diets can even reverse type 2 diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association says that 114 million adults in America have diabetes or prediabetes.

"The results add to the evidence that a plant-based diet should be considered a frontline treatment for type 2 diabetes," Kahleova said.

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