The diet also improves depression—the problem is three times greater among diabetics—and general wellbeing, researchers from the University of London have found. Diabetics also lose weight on the diet.
The dietary change could dramatically reduce the $176bn annual costs in the US, and the £24bn in the UK, to manage the problem with drugs and other medical therapies.
A vegan diet "significantly" reduces the symptoms of type 2 diabetes to the extent that drugs can be stopped, or dosages lowered, the researchers discovered after they took another look at 11 previously-published studies that involved 433 diabetics with an average age of 55.
In fact, the diet was more successful than most of the official guidelines recommended by diabetes help groups around the world, they say.
The vegan diet excludes all animal products, including dairy, and allows only fruits, vegetables, legumes (such as nuts and lentils), seeds and whole grains.