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Effectiveness of plant-based diets in promoting well-being in the management of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review
  1. Anastasios Toumpanakis1,
  2. Triece Turnbull2,
  3. Isaura Alba-Barba3
  1. 1 School of Health Sciences, University of London, London, UK
  2. 2 Faculty of Health and Society, University of Northampton, Northampton, UK
  3. 3 Department of Cardiology, East Sussex NHS Healthcare Trust, Saint Leonards-on-Sea, UK
  1. Correspondence to Anastasios Toumpanakis; anastasios.toumpanakis{at}


Diet interventions have suggested an association between plant-based diets and improvements in psychological well-being, quality of life and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) control in populations with diabetes. The aims of this review are to systematically analyze the available literature on plant-based diet interventions targeting diabetes in adults and to clearly define the benefits on well-being of such interventions. This is a systematic review of controlled trials. A computerized systematic literature search was conducted in the following electronic databases: Allied and Complementary Medicine, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, E-Journals, Excerpta Medica Database, MEDLINE, Health Management Information Consortium, PsycARTICLES, PsycINFO, PubMed, SocINDEX and Web of Science. The search strategy retrieved 1240 articles, of which 11 met the inclusion criteria (n=433; mean sample age 54.8 years). Plant-based diets were associated with significant improvement in emotional well-being, physical well-being, depression, quality of life, general health, HbA1c levels, weight, total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, compared with several diabetic associations’ official guidelines and other comparator diets. Plant-based diets can significantly improve psychological health, quality of life, HbA1c levels and weight and therefore the management of diabetes.

  • plant-based
  • vegan
  • wellbeing
  • type 2 diabetes

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  • Contributors AT, TT and IA-B designed the study. AT and IA-B collected data and conducted data analysis. AT wrote the manuscript. TT and IA-B made substantial contributions to the identification of relevant literature and interpretation of findings, and were involved in drafting the manuscript and revising it critically. All authors have approved the publication of the manuscript.

  • Funding Publication fees for this study were covered by the City, University of London.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data statement No additional data are available.