Greater adherence to a plant-based diet was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes in postmenopausal women in a recent study published in the journal Diabetes Care.
A plant-based dietary pattern, “the Portfolio Diet”, has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and other cardiovascular disease risk factors, according to the abstract of the study. “However, no study has evaluated the association of this diet with incident type 2 diabetes.”
With this in mind, researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Guangdong Provincial People’s Hospital and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University analyzed 145,299 postmenopausal women free of diabetes at baseline in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Clinical Trials and Observational Study from 1993 to 2021.
For the study adherence to the diet was assessed with a score based on six components (high in plant protein [soy and pulses], nuts, viscous fiber, plant sterols, and monounsaturated fat and low in saturated fat and cholesterol) determined from a validated food-frequency questionnaire.
Researchers “used Cox proportional hazards models to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs of the association of the Portfolio Diet, alongside the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) and Mediterranean diets, with incident type 2 diabetes, with adjustment for potential confounders.”
Over a mean follow-up of 16 years, 13,943 cases of incident type 2 diabetes were identified. “In comparisons of the highest with the lowest quintiles of adherence, the HRs for risk of incident type 2 diabetes were 0.77 (95% CI 0.72, 0.82) for the Portfolio Diet, 0.69 (0.64, 0.73) for the DASH diet, and 0.78 (0.74, 0.83) for the Mediterranean diet. These findings were attenuated by 10% after additional adjustment for BMI”, states the study.
Researchers conclude: “Greater adherence to the plant-predominant Portfolio, DASH, and Mediterranean diets was prospectively associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes in postmenopausal women.”