Could vegetarianism keep diabetes at bay?

While this does not apply to everyone with type 2 diabetes, it's typically caused by obesity and a lack of physical exercise. Despite doctors frequently telling their patients about the positive aspects of a healthy diet and physical activity, some people choose not to listen and suddenly find themselves with the condition later on in life.

However, those who are looking to prevent this condition from developing may want to consider adopting a vegetarian lifestyle, as a new study is suggesting that those who refrain from eating meat could be at a lower risk for diabetes. According to researchers from Loma Linda University, vegetarians had a 36 percent lower prevalence of metabolic syndrome in comparison to those who ate meat.

Metabolic syndrome is when a patient is experiencing three out of five total risk factors - high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol, high glucose levels, elevated triglycerides and an unhealthy waist circumference. Many of these symptoms are also causes of diabetes, which is why a vegetarian diet may lower the risk of diabetes in some people.

The study's authors found that 25 percent of vegetarians had metabolic syndrome in comparison to 37 percent of semi-vegetarians and 39 percent of non-vegetarians. These findings surprised the researchers, as the results held up against other factors such as age, gender, physical activity and amount of calories consumed.

Researchers added that these findings could educate those who are looking to prevent diabetes from occurring.

"This work again shows that diet improves many of the main cardiovascular risk factors that are part of metabolic syndrome," said Dr. Gary Fraser, the principal investigator of Adventist Health Study 2. "Trending toward a plant-based diet is a sensible choice."