In a new study, Chinese researchers have found that the consumption of a Vegetarian diet, especially a vegan diet increases insulin sensitivity, lowers blood sugar and benefits patients of diabetes. The study has appeared in Journal Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases.
Potential associations between vegetarian diet patterns and fasting insulin and insulin sensitivity remain unclear. Dr Cui X, at Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China and associates conducted a cross-sectional study in Chinese vegetarians to investigate if vegetarian diets were associated with fasting insulin and insulin sensitivity in vegetarians and matched omnivores, then to test if it is independent of body mass index (BMI).
In the study, the researchers included 279 vegetarians (73 vegans, 206 lacto-ovo-vegetarians) and 279 age and sex-matched omnivores. Fasting blood glucose (FG) and fasting insulin (FI) concentrations were measured, and β-cell function (HOMA-β) and insulin resistance index (HOMA-IR) was used to evaluate insulin sensitivity. All blood glucose and insulin sensitivity indices were naturally log-transformed and multiple-linear regression was used to determine the association between vegetarian diet patterns and insulin sensitivity after adjusting for confounders including BMI, visceral fat area, physical activity, sedentary time, income, alcohol consumption, and daily dietary intakes of macronutrients. Compared to omnivores, both a vegan diet and lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet were negatively associated with HOMA-IR after adjusting for BMI. Vegan diet remained negatively associated with FI and HOMA-IR after adjusting for all confounders.
The researchers concluded that a Vegetarian diet, especially a vegan diet, is negatively associated with fasting insulin and insulin resistance index, independent of BMI. The key points of the study were –
- Vegetarians have a lower level of fasting insulin and insulin resistance index, which indicates higher insulin sensitivity in vegetarians.
- The association mentioned above is independent of body mass index.
- The association between vegetarian diet patterns and insulin sensitivity is more significant in vegans.
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