Eating whole fruits associated with reduced risk for diabetes

Eating whole fruits, specifically blueberries, grapes and apples, was associated with a lower risk for developing Type 2 diabetes compared with drinking fruit juice, according to recently published study results.

The study included more than 187,000 participants drawn from the Nurses’ Health Study, Nurses’ Health Study II and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. The researchers used food frequency questionnaires to follow up with the participants every 4 years about how often they ate a standard portion of fruit. The fruits in the study included grapes or raisins, peaches, plums or apricots, prunes, bananas, cantaloupe, apples or pears, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries and blueberries.

Over the course of the study, 12,198 participants (6.5%) developed Type 2 diabetes. The researchers found blueberries, grapes and apples were associated with the greatest reduction in risk of developing diabetes. They believe this is due to the higher levels of anthocyanins found in those fruits, which have been shown to enhance glucose uptake in mice.

The researchers also found that eating whole fruits also contributed to a lower risk compared with consuming fruit juice, which was associated with a higher risk, because the juicing process reduces the beneficial nutrients and increasing glycemic load of fruit.

“Overall, these results support recommendations on increasing consumption of a variety of whole fruits, especially blueberries, grapes, and apples, as a measure for diabetes prevention,” the study authors wrote.

For more information:

Muraki I. BMJ.2013. doi: 10.1136/bmj.f5001.

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