Eating fresh fruit lowers risk of type 2 diabetes, study claims

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Slipping two servings of fresh fruit into your daily diet can lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by over one-third, a new study suggests. But, in this study, not all fruit is created equal as the benefits of eating whole fruit were not seen for those who drank fruit juice. 

The study, conducted by Edith Cowan University (ECU) and published in the Journal of Clinical and Endocrinology and Metabolism, found that people who ate at least two servings of fruit per day had higher measures of insulin sensitivity than those who ate less than half of a serving, according to a news release posted on EurekAlert.org. 

In fact, among the data analyzed from 7,675 Australians who had partaken in the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute’s AusDiab Study, which assessed fruit and fruit juice intake and the prevalence of diabetes after five years, those who ate at least two servings of fruit had a 36% less chance of developing the most common form of diabetes. 

Type 2 diabetes means that the body doesn’t use insulin properly, and while some can control their blood sugar levels with healthy eating and exercise, others may require medication or insulin to manage the condition, according to Diabetes.org. Some may be diagnosed with prediabetes before they develop type 2 diabetes, but early treatment and intervention could help return blood sugar levels to the normal range. Losing 7% of body weight and exercising moderately 30 minutes a day for five days a week has previously been shown to reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes by 58%, according to Diabetes.org. 

Among the foods the American Diabetes Association recommends for keeping a healthy diet are fruits and vegetables, in addition to lean meats and plant-based sources of protein, less added sugar and less processed foods. 

The organization explained that while fruit counts as a carbohydrate, they are “loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber just like vegetables” and can “help you satisfy your sweet tooth without the added sugar.” 

Dr. Nicola Bondonno, the study’s lead author, said an added benefit may impact insulin activity in the body. 

“As well as being high in vitamins and minerals, fruits are a great source of phytochemicals which may increase insulin sensitivity, and fibre which helps regulate the release of sugar into the blood and also helps people feel fuller longer,” Bondonno said. “Furthermore, most fruits have a low glycemic index, which means the fruit’s sugar is digested and absorbed into the body more slowly.” 

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