Credits By: Joslin Diabetes Center
A groundbreaking study has unveiled a promising path to remission for individuals with type 2 diabetes through lifestyle-based interventions, specifically emphasizing a predominantly plant-based, whole-food eating pattern. This research sheds light on the effectiveness of dietary changes in managing diabetes and offers hope for those seeking lasting remission.
The Study Findings
The study involved 59 participants with type 2 diabetes enrolled in a cardiac wellness program. Under medical treatment at a wellness center, they followed a predominantly plant-based, whole-food, low-fat dietary pattern. Remarkably, the results revealed significant improvements in blood glucose control and an impressive remission rate of 37%.
A Unique Approach to Remission
Unlike previous studies focusing on drastic calorie restriction or fasting, this research evaluated remission as the primary outcome by promoting healthy food choices. The findings highlight the potential of adopting a predominantly plant-based, whole-food eating pattern for achieving lasting remission in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
Growing Recognition of Diet as Intervention
As diabetes prevalence increases, the healthcare community recognizes the pivotal role of diet in attaining remission. This study further supports the efficacy of a predominantly plant-based, whole-food eating pattern as a primary intervention for diabetes remission. It underscores the importance of educating both patients and physicians on lifestyle medicine principles and dietary interventions.
Methodology and Definition of Remission
Electronic health records of patients receiving treatment at the wellness clinic were reviewed. Data points were collected before and after lifestyle treatment to determine the adoption of a predominantly plant-based, whole-food eating pattern and improvements in HbA1c or blood glucose control. The study employed the American College of Lifestyle Medicine’s consensus remission definition, requiring an HbA1c level below 6.5% for at least three months without the use of devices, surgery, or pharmacologic therapy.
Patient Demographics and Medication De-Escalation
The study’s participants, with an average age of 71.5 years (ranging from 41 to 89 years), demonstrated inspiring results, with 22 achieving remission of type 2 diabetes. Additionally, the study observed a reduction in glucose-reducing medication dosage following lifestyle changes, supervised by physicians when a patient no longer benefits from certain medications.
Education and Adherence
Surprisingly, many individuals initially did not opt for a lifestyle medicine treatment plan for type 2 diabetes. However, they were educated on the advantages of a predominantly plant-based, whole-food dietary pattern and regular physical activity as part of their routine care at the wellness center. This challenges the assumption that dietary changes may face resistance, as adherence to a predominantly plant-based diet is shown to be achievable and enjoyable.
While complete remission may not be attainable for everyone, this study unveils the potential for achieving remission through appropriately dosed therapeutic lifestyle changes. It underscores the significance of incorporating a predominantly plant-based, whole-food eating pattern into routine care for managing type 2 diabetes. As diabetes rates continue to rise, recognizing the power of dietary interventions in achieving long-term remission becomes crucial for healthcare professionals and patients alike.
By embracing a plant-based diet and making informed lifestyle choices, individuals with type 2 diabetes can take charge of their health and potentially reverse the course of their condition. This study instills hope and reinforces the importance of dietary interventions in managing and even overcoming type 2 diabetes.