Veganism and plant-based diets are all the rage these days, and even in India, vegan cafes and plant-food specialists have sprouted all over the place. There’s a reason why many people are taking to going on a fully vegetarian, dairy-free diet.

A team of researchers at Harvard University have revealed that plant-based vegan diet, especially one rich in high-quality foodstuffs such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes, can lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes dramatically. “This study highlights that even moderate dietary changes in the direction of a healthful plant-based diet can play a significant role in the prevention of type 2 diabetes. These findings provide further evidence to support current dietary recommendations for chronic disease prevention,” lead author of the study Ambika Satija, is quoted as saying in a report on the matter

Tracking than 200,000 health professionals across the US for over two decades, the scientists had subjects fill out questionnaires which explored their diet habits, lifestyle, medical history, and medical diagnoses. They then scored participants based on their diets with plant-derived foods earning a higher weightage and scores, than animal-derived foods.

The results posit that following a plant-based diet that was low in animal foods is linked with a 20 percent reduction in type 2 diabetes risk, compared with low adherence to such a diet. Eating the more healthy version of a plant-based diet was associated with an even higher 34 percent lower risk. On the contrary, less healthy vegetarian options such as refined grains, flour, potatoes, and sugar-sweetened beverages was linked with a 16 percent increased risk, thus highlighting that simply going pure vegetarian is not going to magically make you healthier. The actual difference is made by the quality of the substance being consumed as even pure vegetarian items can cause harm.

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