Whole Fruits May Help to Reduce Diabetes Risk
Type 2 diabetes continues to be a growing health concern with approximately 451 million people in the world diagnosed with this chronic disease. After going through the pandemic crisis, we know that having a chronic condition such as type 2 diabetes makes the body more susceptible to other health issues such as the coronavirus.
A study from the Edith Cowan University Institute of Nutrition Research in Australia indicates that including fruit in the diet on a regular basis may offer protection from developing type 2 diabetes. Here is more from this study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
The study included data on 7,675 men and women. The researchers assessed their intake of whole fruits and fruit juices. Lab work was completed to evaluate glucose tolerance as well as insulin sensitivity, a marker of how well the body can use the insulin produced by the pancreas.
The results? Researchers found that for those participants who routinely ate two servings of whole (not processed) fruit each day there was better insulin sensitivity and more efficient use of the insulin released from the pancreas. The pancreas was also able to produce less insulin to lower the glucose levels. This is good news because it means the pancreas does not have to work so hard or so long for glucose regulation.
For those participants who ate two or more servings of whole fruit each day, there was a 36% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This result did not apply to those who chose to get their fruit in the form of juice. This makes sense, doesn’t it, since juice is highly processed and quickly digested and absorbed, usually resulting in a spike in glucose levels and adding stress to the pancreas.
Whole fruits provide a wide assortment of nutrients including vitamins, minerals, potassium, and phytochemicals to reduce inflammation. In addition, whole fruits contain fiber from the pulp and peel that will slow the release of glucose into the blood stream.
Enjoy fruit at your meals and integrate them into snacks. Apples, plums, nectarines, peaches, oranges, cherries and grapes are super, as are berries. These fruits, and others, supply a good source of fiber and a host of protective nutrients that may actually reduce your risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
About the Author
Rita Smith is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's been working in the field of nutrition and disease prevention for more than 35 years and currently works at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. Each week, Rita provides nutrition counseling to clients who have a variety of disorders or diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis and weight management. For these clients, food choices can help them manage their health problems.