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It is a common myth that you shouldn’t eat large amounts of fruit if you have diabetes. Dieters are often warned to avoid eating too much fruit to prevent blood glucose disorders because of their high sugar content.
However, a recent study examining the link between fruit consumption and the risk of contracting Type-2 diabetes actually shows that eating fruit can reduce the risk of diabetes.
Eating More Fruit Prevents Diabetes
The researchers evaluated the amount of fruit consumed by more than 187,000 participants in the US. The fruits used in the study were grapes, raisins, peaches, plums, apricots, prunes, bananas, cantaloupe, apples, pears, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, and blueberries.
Those with the highest intake of fruit had a significantly lower risk of diabetes.
While all fruits appear to reduce the risk blueberries, grapes, raisins, apples, and pears conferred the most significant protection.
Three servings of blueberries a week can cut the risk of developing Type-2 diabetes by 26%.
Health Benefits of Fruit
The differences in the effects of individual fruits were not accounted for by variations in their glycemic indexes. The researchers suggested certain fruits may offer the best results because they contain high levels of antioxidants phytochemicals that have been demonstrated to enhance the uptake of glucose into cells.
They add that their results support current recommendations to eat more and a diverse range of whole fruits in order to prevent diabetes.
Fruit Juice and Diabetes Risk
Consuming fruit juice – such as orange, apple, and grapefruit – in place of whole fruit increased the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
A reduction in levels of beneficial nutrients that occurs through juicing processes was cited as one possible reason for this result.
Qi Sun, study author and assistant professor at Harvard School of Public Health, explained that fruit juices contained less of the beneficial compounds found in whole fruits.
The juicing process gets rid of the fruit, just leaving fluids which are absorbed more quickly, causing blood sugars and insulin levels to rise if they contain sugars.
It is also important to note that the majority of fruit juice consumed in North America is pasteurized, which significantly reduces the levels of vitamin C and other nutrients. Additionally, many juices are reconstituted and often contain added sugars, flavors, and preservatives.
The study calculated that replacing weekly fruit juice consumption with whole fruits could reduce the risk of diabetes and confer other health benefits.
Eat Whole Fruit – Not Juice – To Prevent Diabetes
Greater consumption of specific whole fruits, particularly blueberries, grapes, and apples, is significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, whereas consumption of fruit juice is associated with a higher risk.
To minimize the risk of Type-2 diabetes as much as possible it is indicated to reduce fruit juice consumption and increase consumption of whole fruits.
Source: Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective longitudinal cohort studies. BMJ (Published 29 August 2013). http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f5001