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Vegan diet can help improve mental health and management of diabetes

Friday 2nd November 2018
A study has suggested that a vegan diet can help improve wellbeing and the management of Type 2 diabetes.
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Adopting a vegan diet can help improve mental health and make the management of type two diabetes easier, according to new research published in the British Medical Journal.

Researchers from the University of London, the University of Northampton and East Sussex NHS Healthcare Trust came to these conclusions after they examined a series of studies on vegan diets. They found that the people studied also succeeded in controlling their weight more easily. 

The paper noted that the use of a vegan diet to improve health had already been recommended earlier this year by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the American College of Endocrinology.

It concluded: "Overall, the results suggest that a plant-based diet could improve the overall quality of life, psychological well-being and chronic diabetic neuropathy in people with TD2 [type 2 diabetes] without changes in food enjoyment and diet costs."

The new study was reported widely in the media on November 1st, which was World Vegan Day.

Noting the report, the NHS website did raise a few caveats. Firstly, it said the sample size of 433 people taking part in the studies was fairly low, potentially weakening the evidence. In addition, it noted only three studies covered issues of wellbeing and mental health.

It stated that because plant-based diets tend to be lower in calories than those including meat and high-fat dairy produce, this was likely to account for the weight loss and enhanced diabetes control. 

However, it added, while a healthier diet can indeed make controlling diabetes easier, "this study does not show convincingly that a vegan diet is superior to other healthy diets for people with diabetes. 

"And you don't have to go vegan to improve the quality of your diet."

The website added that for a plant-based diet to be healthy, it should include plenty of "fresh vegetables, pulses, fruits and wholegrains," while avoiding refined carbs like sugar and white flour.

Written by Martin Lambert

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