Eating fruit can cut diabetes risk, researches believe
on 30/08/2013 09:48:09
Experts including a team from Harvard School of Public Health in the US examined whether certain fruits impact on type 2, which affects more than 150,000 Irish people.
People who ate three standard servings a week of blueberries had a 26% lower chance of developing the disease, they found.
Those eating grapes and raisins had a 12% reduced risk and apples and pears cut the chances by 7%. Prunes also had a protective effect, giving an 11% drop in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Other fruits such as bananas, plums, peaches and apricots had a negligible impact but drinking fruit juice increased the risk by 8%, according to the study.
In fact, people who replaced all fruit juice with eating whole fruits could expect a 7% drop in their risk of developing type 2.
For individual fruits, replacing three servings a week of fruit juice with blueberries cut the risk by 33% while replacing juice with grapes and raisins cut the risk by 19%.
The risk was also 14% lower if juice was replaced with apples and pears, 13% lower if replaced with bananas and 12% lower if replaced with grapefruit.
The research, published in the British Medical Journal, includes data on 187,382 people taken from three separate studies, of whom 12,198 developed type 2 diabetes.
Food questionnaires were used every four years to assess diet and they asked how often, on average, people consumed each food in a standard portion size.
The relatively high glycaemic load of fruit juice along with "reduced levels of beneficial nutrients through juicing processes" may explain why juice increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, the authors suggest.
"Fluids pass through the stomach to the intestine more rapidly than solids even if nutritional content is similar. For example, fruit juices lead to more rapid and larger changes in serum levels of glucose and insulin than whole fruits," they said.
More research is needed, they added, but concluded: "Greater consumption of specific whole fruits, particularly blueberries, grapes and apples, is significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, whereas greater consumption of fruit juice is associated with a higher risk."
With no national register, it is difficult to know how many people in Ireland are diagnosed with type 2, but a 2007 Institute of Public Health report estiamted the figure at around 143,000 for both type 1 and 2, projecting it wo rise to 194,000 by 2015.
Complications of type 2 include limb amputation, blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and stroke.