Background: In the United States, type 2 diabetes is on the rise. Through lifestyle modifications, adults can prevent, delay, or help manage diabetes. Consuming a plant-based diet means limiting or eliminating animal products while focusing on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. This dietary habit may be beneficial when it comes to diabetes prevention and treatment.

Objectives: A literature review was conducted to determine the effects of a plant-based diet on the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes in adults.

Methods: The search process was limited to 2010-2020. The databases including Academic Search Premier, CINAHL, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Health Source, and PubMed, which were searched using key terms to address the objective.

Results: The search resulted in 11 articles that fulfilled inclusion criteria and addressed the clinical question. Diabetes biomarkers such as hemoglobin A1c, fasting blood glucose (FBG), insulin sensitivity, and more were examined. Other dietary patterns such as a conventional diet, the DASH diet, the Mediterranean diet, and a low-carbohydrate diet were compared to a plant-based diet and their impact on type 2 diabetes.

Discussion: Results indicate that a plant-based diet is beneficial in the prevention and treatment of diabetes as realized by improved hemoglobin A1c, fasting blood glucose, and even allowing for a reduction or discontinuation of diabetes related medications. Practitioners can recommend a plant-based diet for adults to aid in the prevention and treatment of diabetes. There are, however, many healthy diet options that are effective in the treatment of type 2 diabetes; thus a patient’s preferences should be considered when making recommendations.


Rhona Cornell

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


School of Nursing


Allied Health and Nursing



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In Copyright