Harvard Researchers took a look at nearly 125,000 adults, none of whom were diabetic at the beginning of the study. The quality of each participant’s diet was monitored initially and periodically for 20 years. Yes 20 years – this is a long term, large study (so…hey, pay attention!)
The quality of their diet was measured using the AHEI score (Alternate Healthy Eating Index) where eating vegetables and fruit and cereal fiber increase the score and where including red meat, saturated and trans fats and alcohol decrease the score.
The results are in – a decrease in diet quality of more than 10% over 4 years was linked to a 34% increased risk of developing type 2 Diabetes. However, when diet quality increased by over 10% over 4 years, the risk of type 2 Diabetes was reduced by 16%. That is a 50% difference in diabetes risk between those who made moderate improvements (10%) in their diet quality and those who let the quality of their diet slip by 10%.
Now you might be thinking that those whose diet quality decreased, gained weight and that explains their increased risk of diabetes. Not that simple. BMI (body mass index) explained less than a third of the new cases of Diabetes; showing once again that people can develop type 2 diabetes even at lower BMI level when they consume a poor quality diet.
Moral of the story – Even small changes can make a difference! Plant your plate now for a healthier tomorrow!