Next to a low carb the vegan diet resulted in greater improvement in several health measures compared to a norm vegetarian diet in people with Type 2 diabetes — although both diets were beneficial, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
A vegan diet is completely free of animal products – that means no meat, poultry, fish, dairy or eggs. However, many low nutrient foods are vegan – potato chips are an example – following a vegan diet for health usually means sticking to some additional guidelines, such as eating minimally processed foods and an abundance of fruits and vegetables. Studies have shown that plant-based diets – which are not necessarily vegan, but include a wide range of healthy plant foods – can provide many health benefits, including a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes and one lower risk of dementia. Getting your dietary fat from plants, rather than animal products, is linked to lower risk of strokeand a healthy plant-based diet can even improve COVID-19 outcomes. That doesn’t mean all animal products are bad for you, though. There is evidence that fermented milk products, in particular — such as yogurtkefir and cultured buttermilk – are good for your health, including cardiovascular health.
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For the latest study, researchers randomly assigned 164 participants with type 2 diabetes to follow either a low-carb vegan diet or a vegetarian diet for three months. The low-carb vegan diet was high in canola oil and plant-based protein, while the vegetarian diet was designed to be a healthy “therapeutic” diet. Both diets were recommended to participants in a way that would cover 60% of the calories they would need to maintain their body weight – in other words, the diets were intended to lead to weightloss.
All participants had type 2 diabetes for at least six months and were not taking insulinas stated in an article on the study at Helio. They had all been on a stable dose of hypoglycemic medication for at least one month before the study, and had a A1C value (a measure of long-term glycemic control) between 6.5% and 8.5% – indicating good to less than optimal glycemic control.
Improvements related to the two vegetable food styles
At the end of the three months, 70 of 83 participants (84%) had followed the low-carb vegan diet, while 68 of 81 participants (84%) had followed the vegetarian diet. Among participants who followed their diet, those in the low-carb vegan group lost an average of 5.9 kilograms (13.0 pounds), while those in the vegetarian group lost an average of 5.2 kilograms (11 .5 pounds). Members of the low-carb vegan group saw their average A1C level drop by 0.99%, while for members of the vegetarian group it fell by 0.88% – a striking drop in A1C for both groups. Regarding the systolic arterial pressure (the “highest figure”), members of the low-carb vegan group saw a drop of 4 mmHg, while members of the vegetarian group saw a drop of 6 mmHg on average.
For all of these health measures, none of the differences between the two diet groups were statistically significant, meaning they could have been due to chance – but the overall improvements in both groups were both statistically significant and important enough to potentially make a significant difference in health. One area where there was a significant difference between the two groups, however, was in the estimated greenhouse gas emissions linked to their diet – the low-carb vegan group was linked to a reduction in emissions of 0 .63 kilograms of carbon dioxide per day per person, on average.
The researchers concluded that following a low-calorie, low-carb vegan or vegetarian diet could lead to significant improvements in health measures in people with type 2 diabetes, and that a low-carb vegan diet in carbohydrates is the best choice when it comes to environmental impact.