Consumers’ diet choices can impact their risk of developing diabetes. While foods high in fat and carbs can increase the risk of diabetes, healthier options like dairy products, whole grains, and eggs can all reduce the risk of diabetes.
Now, a new study conducted by researchers from the Endocrine Society explored how eating more fruits can be beneficial in lowering the risk of diabetes. According to their findings, having two servings of fruit per day can reduce diabetes risk by more than 35%.
“We found people who consumed around two servings of fruit per day had a 36 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes over the next five years than those who consumed less than half a serving of fruit per day,” said researcher Nicola Bondonno, Ph.D. “We did not see the same pattern for fruit juice. These findings indicate that a healthy diet and lifestyle which includes the consumption of whole fruits is a great strategy to lower your diabetes risk.”
Healthier foods, lower disease risk
For the study, the researchers analyzed data from more than 7,600 participants enrolled in the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute’s Australian Diabetes, Obesity, and Lifestyle Study. At the start of the study, the participants completed questionnaires that assessed their diets. The researchers then followed up with the group up to 12 years later to determine their diabetes status and measure their fasting insulin levels, fasting plasma glucose, and insulin sensitivity, among other factors.
By the five-year mark, the researchers determined that those who incorporated fruit into their daily diets were 36% less likely to develop diabetes. However, this did not hold up for those who drank fruit juice; only whole fruits were associated with the protective health benefits.
The study also revealed that eating more fruit improved the participants’ insulin response. Regularly eating fruit allowed the participants to use less insulin to naturally lower their blood sugar levels, which can have long-term impacts on other key health markers.
“This is important because high levels of circulating insulin (hyperinsulinemia) can damage blood vessels and are related not only to diabetes, but also to high blood pressure, obesity, and heart disease,” said Dr. Bondonno.