A Plant-Based Dietary Index
We embedded these analyses in the Rotterdam study, a large population-based cohort in the Netherlands, where almost 15,000 people were followed over time. We measured their diets at baseline.
For each participant, we scored how much they consumed of plant-based foods—such as vegetables, nuts, and legumes—and of animal-based foods, such as meat, dairy, eggs, and fish. We computed an overall score, with higher scores reflecting more plant-based and less animal-based foods.
When we analyzed this plant-based diet score in relation to incident diabetes and insulin resistance—controlling for body mass index, physical activity, smoking, and several other factors—we consistently found that higher scores on the plant-based dietary index were related to lower diabetes risk and lower levels of insulin resistance in the general population.
Overall, these findings strengthen current dietary recommendations that support the adoption of a more plant-based diet for lowering the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.