“Farmacy”: the Role of Whole-Food Plant-Based Diet in Type 2 Diabetes

Research Category: Health Sciences
Presenter: Michelle Wang
Additional Authors: Winnie Wan, Janice Lin
PI: Gregory Miller

Diabetes (DM) is currently the seventh leading cause of death in the United States affecting over 30.3 million Americans. As pharmacists we recognize that pharmacological treatments only manage, not prevent, Type 2 DM (T2DM) and are associated with higher costs, adverse effects, and patient burden. Whole-food plant-based (WFPB) diets include fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, and exclude meats, dairy, eggs, and refined foods like oils. Current data suggest that WFPB diets may be efficacious in both the primary and secondary prevention of T2DM. A narrative synthesis was conducted to determine if a WFPB diet could prevent, manage, and reverse DM, as well as prevent diabetes-related complications. All analyzed studies found a statistically significant reduction in the risk of developing T2DM and improvement in glycemic control in patients following a WFPB diet compared to a conventional diet containing meat. Furthermore, studies indicated a positive trend in preventing diabetes-related complications and reduction in the use of pharmacological treatments. As the most easily accessible healthcare professionals, we have an obligation to educate our patients about the proven efficacy of WFPB diets in preventing and managing T2DM.