Fruit Helps Prevent Diabetes Type 2

November 14th is designated as World Diabetes Day, and in recognition of this our posts this week will review topics related to diabetes. Today’s post will examine the role of fruit in the diet, and subsequent development of diabetes.

Statistics from the World Health Organization regarding diabetes are quite startling. Well over 400 million adults worldwide suffer from diabetes. Global prevalence of diabetes is over 8%. Diabetes is estimated to be the 7th leading cause of death worldwide.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health tackled the question of whether certain types of fruits are associated with the risk of type 2 diabetes. Data from the Nurse’s Health Study, the Nurses Health Study II, and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study was used for their research.

The participants were queried about their intake of individual fruits- apricots, peaches or plums; apples or pears; bananas, blueberries, cantelope, grapes or raisins; grapefruit; oranges; and strawberries. Participants were also questioned about fruit juices, including apple, grapefruit, and orange. The questionnaires were given at baseline, and then every two years in follow-up.

The results of the study were interesting. Total whole fruit intake was associated with a lower risk of diabetes. In particular, greater consumption of apples, bananas, blueberries, grapes and grapefruit were significantly associated with a decreased risk of diabetes. Conversely, increased fruit juice consumption was associated with an increased risk of diabetes, and switching from fruit juice to whole fruit in general led to a lower risk of diabetes. Even more interesting was the fact that the glycemic index alone did not seem to account for the association with Type 2 diabetes. 

Proper diet and regular exercise are two of the most important components of diabetes treatment. It appears incorporating fruit into the diet may be a strategy for prevention of diabetes as well.

“Fruit is definitely on the maintenance diet. It’s on the lifestyle diet.”– Robert Atkins

(Source- BMJ 2013; 347:15001)

This blog is a review of published medical and scientific literature, and should only be used for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical or health advice, nor does it create a physician-patient relationship with anyone. Discuss any health concerns with your personal physician.

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