It is well known that diet is important for people with type 2 diabetes and now a new study has found that fresh fruit not only reduces the risk of developing the condition but also reduces complication for those with the disease.
Scientists at Oxford University in the UK found that those who eat fruit daily have a 12% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes in a study that is the first to make a direct link between fruit and diabetes risk.
They also found that it is good news too for people who already have the condition, with regular fruit eaters 17% less likely to die from complications associated with having type 2 diabetes.
Indeed, the study report says that the risk of diabetes-related complications affecting large blood vessels such as strokes or heart, kidney and eye disease was up to 28% lower.
The study involved more than 500,000 adults from 10 widely different areas across China where many people still eat little fruit and tracked their health for seven years.
In total, 18.8% of the participants said that they consumed fresh fruit every day and 6.4% percent said that they never or rarely consumed them. Those who had been previously diagnosed with diabetes were three times as likely to not consume fruit than those without diabetes.
The team found that people who did not have diabetes at the beginning of the study and consumed fresh fruit in high amounts had a significantly lower risk of diabetes. Additionally, those who had diabetes at the beginning of the study and consumed high amounts of fruit had a significantly lower risk of dying from any cause, as well as a lower risk of developing cardiovascular complications.
‘These findings suggest that a higher intake of fresh fruit is potentially beneficial for primary and secondary prevention of diabetes. For individuals who have already developed diabetes, restricted consumption of fresh fruit, which is common in many parts of the world, should not be encouraged,’ the study report concludes.
There is a myth that people with diabetes should avoid lots of fresh fruit because of the sugar content, but Dr Emily Burns, research communications manager at charity Diabetes UK, said the research shows that fresh fruit has many health benefits.
‘The type of sugar in whole fruit is different to the added sugar we should avoid. We know that a balanced diet is beneficial for overall health and preventing type 2 diabetes. Now, after studying more than half a million people, the Oxford research team have concluded it is beneficial, the first study to make such a direct link,’ she added.
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.