Plant-Based Diet May Help Reverse Prediabetes

After a weekend of grilling burgers, brats or steaks, it might be a good time to get in the Meatless Monday habit, and recent research suggests that a plant-based diet could help reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes. 

new study from the Aging Research Center at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm found that a plant-based, whole food diet can help prevent people with prediabetes from progressing to type 2 diabetes.  Researchers put study participants on a diet focused on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts while lowering the amount of red and processed meats consumed.  Organic eggs and lean protein like chicken and turkey were also included in the diet plan. 

By avoiding heavily processed foods and focusing on foods in their natural state and loading up on high fiber vegetables like zucchini, cauliflower and squash instead of processed carbohydrates, study participants lost weight and brought their blood sugar back into a healthier range. 

Although millions of Americans have prediabetes, which left untreated can develop into type 2 diabetes, most don’t know they have the condition.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 100 million people in the United States have diabetes or prediabetes.  By maintaining a healthy diet rich in vegetables and whole grains while avoiding sugar and processed foods and getting regular exercise, adults with prediabetes can keep their blood sugar levels in check. 

Risk factors for prediabetes include obesity, inactivity, older age(over 45), a genetic predisposition, a history of gestational diabetes and lack of sleep or too much sleep, according to the Mayo Clinic.  Diabetes is a growing health concern as the population ages; unless properly controlled or prevented, diabetes can lead to blindness, amputations, heart failure and kidney failure. Exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet and losing weight can help lower the risk for developing type 2 diabetes and experiencing these serious complications. 

Check out these Meatless Monday recipes compiled by CookingLight to get your week off to a healthy start!