Plant-based Diets & Diabetes

A study from the Netherlands has just been published 1 which continues to pile up the evidence that plant-based diets help to prevent diabetes, while animal-based diets do quite the opposite.

The researchers start from the suggestion that vegan/vegetarian diets are claimed as being useful in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D). But they consider that not enough is still not known about whether replacing an animal-based with a plant-based diet may be beneficial for prevention of T2D.

To establish this, they looked at data from the original 1991 prospective cohort Rotterdam Study 2 as well as from the subsequent follow-ups 3 and investigated whether: “…levels of adherence to a diet high in plant-based foods and low in animal-based foods is associated with insulin resistance, prediabetes, and T2D“.

There were 6798 participants in this prospective population-based cohort study in the Netherlands. They collected dietary intake data via questionnaires. Information on insulin resistance was derived from homeostasis models (HOMA-IR), and both prediabetes and T2D data were collected from general practitioners’ records, pharmacies’ databases, and from follow-up examinations in their research centre until 2012.

During the 5.7 and 7.3 years of follow-up, they documented 928 prediabetes cases and 642 T2D cases.

After they adjusted for sociodemographic/lifestyle factors, they found that a plant-based diet was associated with the following:

  • lower risk of prediabetes 
  • significantly lower risk of insulin resistance
  • significantly lower risk of developing T2D

They concluded that: “…a more plant-based and less animal-based diet may lower risk of insulin resistance, prediabetes and T2D.

In addition, they consider that their findings strengthen recent dietary recommendations for populations to adopt a more plant-based diet.

Final thought

Although we’ve already looked at aspects of diabetes in relation to diet 4 5 , I think it’s always worth mentioning new research in this area as it appears – invariably, it seems, appearing to be in favour of the plant-based and against meat-based diets.

And this isn’t just a matter of what you see – it’s also what you don’t see: you don’t see research stating the opposite!

Indeed, instead of peer-reviewed published research data,  all we really get is Paleo Propaganda…


Where’s the beef?!


  1. Eur J Epidemiol. 2018 Jun 8. doi: 10.1007/s10654-018-0414-8. Plant versus animal based diets and insulin resistance, prediabetes and type 2 diabetes: the Rotterdam Study. Chen Z, Zuurmond MG, van der Schaft N, Nano J, Wijnhoven HAH, Ikram MA, Franco OH, Voortman T. []
  2. European Journal of Epidemiology. July 1991, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 403–422. Determinants of disease and disability in the elderly: The Rotterdam elderly study. A. HofmanD. E. GrobbeeP. T. V. M. De JongF. A. Van den Ouweland. []
  3. Rotterdam Study []
  4. Low-Fat Plant-Based Diets Help to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes []
  5. Diabetes – The Medical Facts. WARNING – Disturbing Images []