A new study revealed that a bowl of fresh fruit a day may lower the risk of developing diabetes by 12 percent. Their work should allay fears that eating too much fruit is unhealthy because of its high sugar content.
In individuals with diabetes, consuming fresh fruit more than three days a week was associated with a 17 percent lower relative risk of dying. The findings revealed that it can lower the risk of developing diabetes-related complications affecting large blood vessels, ischaemic heart disease and stroke, and small blood vessels — kidney diseases, eye diseases, and neuropathy — by 13-28 percent.
The study, led by Oxford University, found it does not raise blood sugar, probably because glucose and fructose in fruit are metabolized differently to the refined sugars in cake and processed food. Although the health benefits of diets including fresh fruit and vegetables are well established, the relatively high sugar content of fruit has led to uncertainty about associated risks of diabetes and of vascular complications of the disease.
Eating fruit every day could cut diabetes risk because it also contains healthy fiber and vitamins. But it may be best to opt for apples, oranges, pears and berries because they raise blood sugar more gradually than bananas, grapes and tropical fruits.
This has led to frequent abstention from fruit consumption among individuals with diabetes in many parts of the world, he noted in the paper published in the journal PLOS Medicine.
Huaidong Du of the University and her colleagues studied nearly 500,000 people participating in the China Kadoorie Biobank over about 7 years of follow-up, documenting new cases of diabetes and recording the occurrence of vascular disease and death in people with pre-existing diabetes.
‘These findings suggest that a higher intake of fresh fruit is potentially beneficial for primary and secondary prevention of diabetes,” said Dr. Du.
The researchers found that people who reported elevated consumption of fresh fruit had a lower associated risk of developing diabetes in comparison with other participants (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 0.88, 95 percent CI 0.83-0.93), which corresponds to an estimated 0.2 percent reduction in the absolute risk of diabetes over 5 years. In people with diabetes, higher consumption of fresh fruit was associated with a lower risk of mortality (aHR 0.83, 95 percent CI 0.74-0.93 per 100g fruit/d), corresponding to an absolute decrease in risk of 1.9 percent at 5 years, and with lower risks of microvascular and macrovascular complications.