Need another reason to eat some fruit every day? A new study from British and Chinese researchers shows a definite correlation between eating fresh fruit and a lower risk of developing diabetes. Many diabetics tend to avoid consuming fruit, opting for vegetables instead because of some fruits’ high sugar content. However, the results of this study share a different story.
- Published on April 11th of this year, the study followed a half million Chinese adults between the ages of 30 and 79 for seven years.
- About 19% of the participants reported consuming fresh fruit daily. Participants who had been previously diagnosed with diabetes were three times as likely to report never or rarely eating fruit.
- At the end of the study, researchers found that those participants without diabetes at the start had a 12% lower risk of developing diabetes when compared with those who ate no fruit. Across the study, more frequent consumption of fruit was associated with a lower risk.
- For participants who were already diabetic when the study started, those who consumed fruit at least three times a week had a 17% lower risk of fatality and a 13%-28% lower risk of developing of complications associated with diabetes such as heart and kidney disease.
- This study was purely observational, so there is no clear reason why this correlation exists and results may have been affected by other factors such as the participants’ dietary and behavioral habits. Further research is needed.
The lead author of this study and a research fellow at the University of Oxford, Dr. Huaidong Du said, “The sugar in fruit is not the same as the sugar in manufactured foods and may be metabolized differently. And there are other nutrients in fruit that may benefit in other ways.” So despite some fruits’ high sugar content, this study shows that a daily dose of sweet, fresh fruit could actually prove beneficial for those already diagnosed with diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association website recommends fruit as a healthy dessert option for those with diabetes, and Diabetes.co.uk offers a handy guide for choosing fruits with low carbohydrate/sugar content. With its high fiber content and nutrients, fresh fruit is always a good choice!
You can read more about the study in PLoS Medicine.