Can a Plant-Based Diet Reduce Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease characterized by elevated blood glucose levels. It also seriously affects the heart, eyes, and blood vessels. To manage this crisis, science has pointed to reliance on plant-based diets.

This article will cover recommendations from the Diabetes and Nutrition Study Group of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) on the benefits of plant-based diets in managing and preventing diabetes.

What Does Science Say?

The EASD created its guidelines around convincing research pointing to a whole-food, plant-based diet as a major tool in managing and potentially reversing type 2 diabetes.

One example of this research was a study published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, which focused on 59 patients from a cardiac wellness program in Virginia suffering from type 2 diabetes.

After switching to plant-based diets, patients noticed improvements in blood glucose control, with 37 percent having full remission of their type 2 diabetes. The dietary pattern was also rich in complex carbohydrates and low in fat, resulting in significant reductions in BMI.

Unlike other studies, which often depend on fasting or calorie restriction, this research prioritized daily healthy eating, making it more accessible to participants. The study also showed a reduction in glucose-lowering medications, highlighting diet as a primary intervention measure.

Furthermore, other studies have revealed that processed meats, essentially those with additives like nitrates, increase the possibility of developing type 2 diabetes, while plant-based diets reduce such risks.

Other Benefits of Plant-based Diets

Beyond Individual health, the EASD recommendations also examine the broader societal benefit of plant-based eating. In this case, plant-based and minimally processed foods are known for having the lowest environmental impact, aligning personal health with planetary well-being.

According to a comprehensive analysis from the University of Oxford, plant-based diets can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, land use, and water pollution by 75 percent compared to high meat-consuming diets.

Furthermore, a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health research team established a connection between plant-based diets and extended lifespan. By developing the Planetary Health Diet Index (PHDI), researchers discovered that adhering to a diet beneficial for both health and the environment could reduce the mortality risk by 80 percent. Higher PHDI scores were also linked with a decreased risk of death from specific diseases such as respiratory ailments and cancer.


Plant-based diets have proven to be effective in helping you combat diabetes. You can contact your dietitian to find the best diet for your health needs.