Fruit and Diabetes Risk
September 8, 2013 by Robert Wascher
Filed under A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, Apples, Blueberries, Cancer Prevention, Diabetes Risk, Fruit Juice, Grapes, Healthy Aging, Healthy Diet, Heart Disease Risk, Hypertension, Kidney Disease, Metabolic Syndrome, Nutrition, Overweight, Pears, Peripheral Vascular Disease, Raisins, Risk of Death, Weekly Health Update, cancer risk, cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular disease risk, diabetes, diet, fruit, fruits, health, heart attack, heart disease, high blood pressure, hyperglycemia, lifestyle, obesity, physical activity, premature death, prevention, risk
New research finds that some fruits reduce diabetes risk, while other fruits have no impact on diabetes risk (and fruit juice increases diabetes risk).
FRUIT AND DIABETES RISK
Diabetes has become a significant public health problem in the United States, and around the world, in recent years as obesity rates have continued to climb. According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 26 million Americans (8 percent of the population) have diabetes. Diabetes is a prolific cause of serious illnesses, including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, neuropathy, and limb loss. Diabetes causes, or contributes to, more than 230,000 deaths in the United States each year.
We all know that fresh fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet, and have consistently been linked with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer (for more details on the links between diet and cancer, see my book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race). But new research suggests that not all forms of fruit are created equal when it comes to maintaining an optimal level of health, including the prevention of diabetes. This new research study appears in the current issue of the British Medical Journal.
The ongoing Nurses’ Health Study and the Nurses’ Health Study II are huge prospective public health studies that, together, involve more than 150,000 female nurse volunteers, while the prospective Health Professionals Follow-up Study includes more than 36,000 male physicians. The primary outcome evaluated by this particular public health study was the risk of diabetes associated with fruit intake.
During the long course of this enormous public health study, 12,198 study participants went on to develop diabetes. After adjusting for other known diabetes risk factors among these more than 185,000 research volunteers, the regular consumption of blueberries, grapes, raisins, apples, and pears was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of developing diabetes. On the other hand, the consumption of bananas, grapefruit, peaches, plums, apricots, oranges, strawberries, and cantaloupe did not reduce diabetes risk. At the same time, the consumption of fruit juices, which often contain significant added sugar, was associated with a small but significant increase in diabetes risk.
In summary, the findings of this important public health study indicate that the risk of diabetes appears to be reduced with the consumption of at least 3 servings per week of blueberries, grapes, raisins, apples, and/or pears, while the regular consumption of other common fruits had no apparent impact on diabetes risk. However, fruit juice consumption was associated with an increase in diabetes risk.
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Disclaimer: As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity
Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author
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