Eating Two Servings of Fruit a Day is Linked with Lower Risk of Developing Diabetes

Fruits provide plenty of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They can also help reduce the risk of some chronic diseases. According to a new study, getting two servings a day may help keep type 2 diabetes at bay, as well.

Researchers from Edith Cowan University in Western Australia examined the fruit and fruit juice consumption of more than 7,000 people, along with their diabetes prevalence within five years. They found that those who ate two servings of fruit a day had a much lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who ate less than half a serving. The same did not apply to fruit juice, though. The findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

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Lead author, Dr. Nicola Bondonno from ECU’s Institute for Nutrition Research, says, “We found an association between fruit intake and markers of insulin sensitivity, suggesting that people who consumed more fruit had to produce less insulin to lower their blood glucose levels.

“This is important because high levels of circulating insulin can damage blood vessels and are related not only to diabetes, but also to high blood pressure, obesity, and heart disease.”

To conduct the research, the team examined data from 7,675 Australians who took part in the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute’s AusDiab Study. Launched in 1999, that focused on prediabetes, diabetes, kidney disease, and heart disease among participants. For the ECU study, researchers discovered that those who ate two servings of fruit a day were 36% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

The team can’t say for sure why fruit is linked with insulin sensitivity, but there are some possibilities.

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Dr. Bondonno explains, “As well as being high in vitamins and minerals, fruits are a great source of phytochemicals which may increase insulin sensitivity, and fiber which helps regulate the release of sugar into the blood and also helps people feel fuller for longer.

“Furthermore, most fruits typically have a low glycaemic index, which means the fruit’s sugar is digested and absorbed into the body more slowly.”

The study noted that there was not a similar finding with fruit juices, which is likely because juice has more sugar and less fiber.

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The team says the findings should encourage the promotion of a healthy diet including widely available fruits like bananas, apples, and oranges to help address diabetes risk and preserve insulin sensitivity.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that if you choose frozen or canned fruit, you look for options that do not have added sugars. Those packed in their own juices are your best bet.

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