The study didn’t spell out exactly why a mainly plant-based diet appeared to lower type 2 diabetes risk. It’s possible that people who eat more plant-based foods may maintain a healthier weight, leading to a lower diabetes risk. It’s also possible that beneficial compounds, like antioxidants and beneficial plant oils, might help promote insulin sensitivity or reduce inflammation. If you’re eating more plant foods, you’re probably eating fewer animal products and reduced the amounts of saturated fat and sodium. And more plant foods may have a favorable effect on the gut microbiome, which may reduce insulin resistance.