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Vegan diet 'helps people better manage type 2 diabetes'

Going vegan "can 'significantly improve' mental health, reduce diabetes and lower weight," reports the Daily Mirror.

Researchers summarised the results of 11 studies which looked at the effects of a plant-based diet on adults with type 2 diabetes.

The researchers said they found evidence of improved mental wellbeing, quality of life, diabetes control and weight loss. However, the studies included in their review were quite small, with only 433 participants in total. This casts doubt on the strength of the evidence. Only 3 of the included studies looked at mental health or quality of life.

Vegan or plant-based diets are becoming more popular. While vegans exclude all animal products from their diet, including dairy products and eggs, the researchers defined a plant-based diet as one where 10% or less of daily calories came from animal products. It's likely that most plant-based diets are lower in calories than diets that include meat or high-fat dairy products, which could account for the reported weight loss and improved diabetes control.

A healthy diet is likely to improve diabetes control, but 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.

Find out more about healthy eating and type 2 diabetes.

Where did the story come from?

The researchers who carried out the review were from the University of London, the University of Northampton and East Sussex NHS Healthcare Trust. The review was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care, which is free to read online.

The Independent, The Times, the Daily Mirror and the Mail Online all reported the results enthusiastically, without much criticism of the weight of the evidence.

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