Studies don’t find a lower risk of type 2 diabetes in people who eat more vegetables. (Those studies compare people of the same weight, though. If veggies helped keep you lean, they would lower your risk.)
But eating more of some kinds of vegetables may make a difference. In a meta-analysis of six studies, for example, people who ate the most green leafy vegetables (at least 1 1/3 servings a day) had a 14 percent lower risk of diabetes than those who ate the least (one serving every five days). That could be because green leafies are so rich in magnesium, which may keep insulin working. The top five vegetable sources of magnesium are: spinach, swiss chard, lima beans, arugula, and peas.
People who eat leafy greens, however, could also be doing something else to lower their risk as well, so the association is not conclusive.
Source: BMJ 341: c4229, 2010.
Other relevant links:
- Evidence shows that regular exercise and a healthy weight are important in preventing diabetes. See: Diabetes and Diet: How Do Weight and Exercise Affect Your Risk of Diabetes?
- Can high blood sugar lead to brain atrophy? See: Diabetes and Diet: The Effect of Diabetes on the Brain
- Saccharin may lead to high blood sugar levels by changing gut bacteria in some people. See: Sugar in Food: Do Artificial Sweeteners Raise Your Blood Sugar?