Fresh fruit may protect against type 2 diabetes and its complications

by Barbara Hewitt on May 5, 2017

Eating fresh fruit may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and reduce the complications of the disease, according to a new observational study, but researchers are unable to explain why.

The study of just over 500,000 adults aged 30 to 79 from 10 diverse regions of China over seven years was the largest prospective piece of research to look at associations between eating fruit and diabetes and its complications.

Those taking part completed a detailed questionnaire interview and underwent physical measurements and blood tests, with their health tracked subsequently for seven years.

Among those who were free of diabetes at the start of the study, the daily consumption of fresh fruit was associated with a 12% lower relative risk of developing diabetes, compared to those never or rarely consuming fresh fruit.

In those individuals who already had diabetes prior to the start of the study, consuming fresh fruit more than three days a week was associated with a 17% lower relative risk of dying from any cause and a 13% to 28% lower risk of developing diabetes related complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney diseases, eye diseases, and neuropathy, than those who consumed fruit less than one day per week.

‘These findings suggest that a higher intake of fresh fruit is potentially beneficial for primary and secondary prevention of diabetes,’ the study report says.

‘For individuals who have already developed diabetes, restricted consumption of fresh fruit, which is common in many parts of the world, for example China and other Asian countries, should not be encouraged,’ it explains but adds that the main limitation of the study was its observational nature.

‘In this large epidemiological study in Chinese adults, higher fresh fruit consumption was associated with significantly lower risk of diabetes and, among diabetic individuals, lower risks of death and development of major vascular complications,’ the study report concludes.

The reason for the effects of fruit in the diet remains unclear, but the lead author, Dr. Huaidong Du, a research fellow at the University of Oxford, believes it could be because the sugar in fruit is different.

‘The sugar in fruit is not the same as the sugar in manufactured foods and may be metabolised differently. And there are other nutrients in fruit that may benefit in other ways,’ he pointed out.


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.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ivan May 7, 2017 at 6:14 pm

eat lots of fresh fruit be active and don’t get type 2 diabetes.

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