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Can Eating Fruit Lower Risk of Diabetes?

November 1, 2013 4 comments

Can eating fruit lower your risk of type 2 diabetes? Can drinking fruit juice raise your risk of diabetes? November is National Diabetes Month. If you are trying to clean up your diet and prevent this “lifestyle” disease, recent research offers some exciting advice, especially for you fruit lovers.

A new study led by the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) found that eating more whole fruits significantly lowers risk of diabetes. This study was published in August 2013 in the online version of the British Medical Journal (BMJ). The researchers looked at overall fruit consumption, as well as individual fruits including grapes or raisins; peaches, plums or apricots; prunes; bananas; cantaloupe; apples or pears; oranges; grapefruit; strawberries and blueberries. They also examined consumption of apple, orange, grapefruit and “other” fruit juices.

They found that consuming two servings a week of certain fruits, specifically blueberries, grapes, and apples, reduced participants’ risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as 23% compared to consuming less than one serving per month. On the flip side, drinking one or more servings of fruit juice each day increased risk of diabetes by as much as 21%. Researchers also discovered that replacing three servings of juice per week with whole fruits would result in a 7% reduction of diabetes.

From a nutritional standpoint, whole fruits are nutrient-dense high fiber carbohydrates. Like other healthy carbohydrate sources in wholegrains, starchy vegetables and milk and yogurt, fruit influences blood sugar levels by raising them. If you already have diabetes or pre-diabetes, it is important to consume the right amount and types of carbohydrates. Speak with a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator to learn more about what you can eat to manage your blood sugars.

Diabetes is not inevitable. It is a lifestyle disease that can largely be prevented through healthy and consistent nutrition and exercise choices. This study shows that you can enjoy a variety of fruits as one means of prevention.

Bottom line, eat whole fruits and skip the juice! Diabetes prevention is in your hands!

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