Eating fruit 'cuts diabetes risk'

02 September 2013 08:55

Eating apples reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by seven per cent

Eating apples reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by seven per cent

The risk of developing type 2 diabetes can be reduced by eating blueberries, grapes, apples and pears, a study has revealed.

But drinking fruit juice instead of eating whole fruits can increase it, according to researchers in the United States.

The scientists, including a team from Harvard School of Public Health, published their findings in the British Medical Journal.

They found that people who ate three standard servings a week of blueberries had a 26% lower chance of developing the disease.

People who ate grapes and raisins were found to have a 12% reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Eating prunes cut the risk by 11%, while eating apples and pears reduced the risk by 7%. Other fruits (such as bananas, plums, peaches and apricots) had a negligible impact.

However, drinking fruit juice increased the risk by 8%, according to the study.

People who replaced all fruit juice with eating whole fruits were found to have a 7% reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Replacing three servings a week of fruit juice with blueberries cut the risk by 33%. Replacing juice with grapes and raisins cut the risk by 19%; substituting juice with apples and pears cut the risk by 14%; for bananas the figure was 13% and for grapefruit is was 12%.

It is important to maintain the right diet when on holiday. And people with pre-existing medical conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, are advised to take out the appropriate medical travel insurance before leaving the country.

The team analysed data taken from three separate studies on 187,382 people, of whom 12,198 developed type 2 diabetes.

The authors suggests the relatively high glycaemic load of fruit juice along with reduced levels of beneficial nutrients through juicing processes may explain why juice increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Fluids pass through the stomach to the intestine more rapidly than solids, even if nutritional content is similar, they said.

While more research is needed, they concluded that greater consumption of specific whole fruits, particularly apples, grapes and blueberries, is significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, whereas greater consumption of fruit juice is associated with a higher risk.

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