Plant-based diet increases secretion of insulin, incretin hormones in people with type 2 diabetes

A plant-based diet improves the secretion of insulin and incretin hormones in those with type 2 diabetes, according to new research published in Nutrients.

Researchers compared the effects of a plant-based meal to a meal containing meat on the hormone levels of a group of 20 men who have type 2 diabetes in a randomized crossover trial. The meals consisted of either a tofu-based veggie burger or a meat-based burger and contained the same amount of calories and ratio of macronutrients.

The results show that participants' postprandial secretion of insulin increased more after the plant-based meal than the meat-based meal. Secretion of incretin hormones, particularly glucagon-like-peptide 1 (GLP-1), also increased more after the vegan meal. Incretin hormones amplify the release of insulin after a meal and also help decrease blood glucose levels.

Beta-cell function parameters also improved after the vegan meal. Beta cells synthesize, store, and release insulin. Beta-cell function is typically diminished in those who have diabetes, and preserving beta cells' capacity to produce insulin is a cornerstone in the treatment of diabetes.

"With diabetes rates rising and insulin costs soaring, this study offers hope that a solution could be close at hand: the food on our plates," says study author Hana Kahleova, M.D., Ph.D., director of clinical research at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. "The results add to the evidence that a plant-based diet should be considered a frontline treatment for type 2 diabetes."

A previous study found that a 16-week plant-based dietary intervention improves insulin resistance and beta-cell function in overweight adults. Other studies have shown that plant-based diets are effective in managing and even reversing type 2 diabetes and that those following a plant-based diet have approximately half the risk of developing diabetes, compared with non-vegetarians.

In the United States today, more than 114 million adults have either diabetes or prediabetes.


  1. Jay Cornelius Jay Cornelius United States says:

    Hold on. Increasing insulin release is good for insulin sensitivity and pancreatic beta cells?  I don't think so.
    Reducing carbohydrate intake would tenfold be a better way to reduce glucose levels.  This article is making foregone conclusions to promote vegan/vegetarian diets and is not scientifically sound at all.

  2. i dont honestly know i dont honestly know United States says:

    People in my family are vegetarian or vegan by religion, but a huge amount of them have diabetes. Therefore their study is in fact, incorrect. I know how difficult this job is but sorry guys(and gals), it's back to the drawing board.

  3. Caroline Miller Caroline Miller United States says:

    I also hold the view that food therapy is the best choice for people with diabetes to control the disease. However, for pepople with severe symptoms, they might resort to the peptide-based diabetes mellitus treatment, which is leading a revolution in the treatment of diabetes due to their multi-functional properties.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News-Medical.Net.
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