Eating Whole Fruits Could Lessen the Likelihood of Developing Diabetes

A new study finds people who consume two servings of fruit per day have 36% lower odds of developing type 2 diabetes than those who consume less than half a serving. The research was published in the The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Diabetes is a disease where people have too much sugar in their bloodstream, and it is a huge public health burden. Approximately 463 million adults worldwide were living with diabetes in 2019, and by 2045 this number is expected to rise to 700 million. An estimated 374 million people are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease. A healthy diet and lifestyle can play a major role in lowering a person’s diabetes risk.

“We found people who consumed around two servings of fruit per day had a 36% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes over the next five years than those who consumed less than half a serving of fruit per day,” says study author Nicola Bondonno, PhD, of Edith Cowan University’s Institute for Nutrition Research in Perth, Australia. “We did not see the same patterns for fruit juice. These findings indicate that a healthy diet and lifestyle which includes the consumption of whole fruits is a great strategy to lower your diabetes risk.”

The researchers studied data from 7,675 participants from the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute’s Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study who provided information on their fruit and fruit juice intake through a food frequency questionnaire. They found participants who ate more whole fruits had 36 percent lower odds of having diabetes at five years. The researchers found an association between fruit intake and markers of insulin sensitivity, meaning that people who consumed more fruit had to produce less insulin to lower their blood glucose levels.

“This is important because high levels of circulating insulin (hyperinsulinemia) can damage blood vessels and are related not only to diabetes, but also to high blood pressure, obesity and heart disease,” Bondonno says.

Other authors of the study include: Raymond Davey of Curtin University in Perth, Australia; Kevin Murray of the University of Western Australia in Perth, Australia; Simone Radavelli-Bagatini of Edith Cowan University; Catherine Bondonno, Lauren Blekkenhorst, Marc Sim, Joshua Lewis, and Jonathan Hodgson of Edith Cowan University’s Institute for Nutrition Research and the Royal Perth Hospital Research Foundation in Perth, Australia; Dianna Magliano of the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia; Robin Daly of Deakin University in Geelong, Australia; and Jonathan Shaw of the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute and the Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

The manuscript received funding from the National Heart Foundation of Australia and the National Health and Medical Research Council.

The manuscript, “Associations Between Fruit Intake and Risk of Diabetes in the AusDiab Cohort,” was published online, ahead of print.

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