A vegan diet helps promote beneficial gut hormones that govern the regulation of blood sugar and after-meal satisfaction, according to a recent report in the open-access journal Nutrients.

For the study, researchers compared the effects on hormone levels of a vegan meal with one containing meat and cheese.

The test group comprised 20 men considered obesity, 20 considered healthy and 20 with type 2 diabetes. The meals contained the same number of calories and ratio of macro-nutrients.

They found that the vegan meal increased beneficial gastrointestinal hormones in all three sub-groups compared with the non-vegan meal.

“These gut hormones can help keep weight down, enhance insulin secretion, regulate blood sugar and keep us feeling full longer,“ says the report’s author, Hana Kahleova, from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. “Simple meal choices can increase the secretion of these healthy hormones, and that has important implications for those with type 2 diabetes or weight problems.”

More than two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese, while more than 114 million have either diabetes or pre-diabetes. Previous studies have shown that plant-based diets help with weight loss and that people with plant-based diets have approximately half the risk of developing diabetes when compared with non-vegetarians.

Vegans generally need to keep an eye on their calcium, vitamin D, iodine and vitamin B12 intake. - dpa