Eating Whole Fruits Lowers Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

If you want to reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes, think about adding apples, grapes and blueberries to your grocery list. You also might want to limit the number of fruit juices in your shopping cart.

This recommendation is the result of research done through the Harvard School of Public Health. Researchers looked at data obtained from 187,382 participants in three long-term studies that ran from 1984 to 2008.

The Fruits of the Harvard Study

The findings of this study were recently published in the British Medical Journal.

  1. People who enjoyed a minimum of two servings per week of specific whole fruits – particularly grapes, blueberries and apples – lowered their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 23 percent, compared to those who had less than one serving each month.
  2. Those who drank one or more fruit juice servings per day raised their type 2 diabetes risk up to 21 percent.
  3. By swapping three fruit juice servings each week for whole fruits, individuals lowered their diabetes risk 7 percent.

Fruit juices are more quickly absorbed into the body than are fiber-rich whole fruits; this might explain why diabetes risk increases with juice consumption.

The researchers also theorize that berries and grapes may owe some of their beneficial effects to an anthocyanin component. Anthocyanins have been associated with reduced heart attack risk, and may have something to do with lowering the risk for diabetes; more research is naturally required.

How The Study Was Conducted

Research subjects with a reported diagnosis of cardiovascular disease, cancer or diabetes at the time of their study enrollment were excluded from the Harvard study. Of the individuals remaining, 12,198 (6.5 percent) developed diabetes as their study progressed.

The Harvard sleuths examined participants' overall intake of fruit and made note of the specific fruits they ate. These fruits included peaches, plums, grapes or raisins, apricots, prunes, cantaloupe, bananas, pears or apples, grapefruit, oranges, blueberries and strawberries. Participants’ consumption of fruit juice was also scrutinized.

“Our data further endorse current recommendations on increasing whole fruits, but not fruit juice, as a measure for diabetes prevention,” said lead study author Isao Muraki. “And our novel findings may help refine this recommendation to facilitate diabetes prevention.”

Source: Harvard School of Public Health

Photo of pears and plums by John Nyboer

Get a Free Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to InformationAboutDiabetes.com who may contact you with updates and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy.

More Articles

Limiting our intake of highly processed foods, and eating more whole and lightly processed fare can boost our nutrient and fiber intake, lower...

Chamomile tea has long been prized for its calming properties, but few people realize it’s also beneficial for glucose regulation. Traditionally,...

Today, the healing benefits of essential oils are more than the claims of ancient tradition and alternative medicine. They are increasingly the...

The different sugar content of fruits can be confusing when you are trying to manage your...

There is nothing close to a one-size-fits-all exercise program for those with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. The best general advice is to...

More Articles

There is nothing close to a one-size-fits-all exercise program for those with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. The best general advice is to...

Limiting our intake of highly processed foods, and eating more whole and lightly processed fare can boost our nutrient and fiber intake, lower...

”Metabolic memory” (less commonly known as ”hyperglycemic memory” or “legacy effect”) refers to the lingering effects of a long period of either...

With such a marked increase in the number of new diabetes cases, more people are wondering if type 1 diabetes...

Keeping your blood sugar levels under control can be tough. There are so many factors that can affect blood sugar, like exercise, food, illness,...

While some celebrities aren't quick to talk about living with diabetes, others are quite transparent and inspiring - acting as advocates for the...

People with diabetes are about twice as likely to experience heart disease as those without the condition, making cardiovascular health a critical...

All diabetics know that maintaining proper blood sugar levels is the lifeline...

Pilates is an exercise method proven to improve flexibility, strength, coordination, muscular stamina, balance, and posture. Many Pilates...

It can be difficult enough to get on stage and make a roomful of strangers laugh, but for comedians suffering from type 1 or type 2 diabetes,...

Most people with insulin-dependent diabetes use syringes and lancets every day. However, many of them do not know how to dispose of these...

People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes have successfully competed in the Olympic Games. Their amazing stories prove that diabetes is no match for...

Explaining diabetes to children can seem like a daunting task, but in reality, it is no more difficult than discussing anything else important....

Diabetes is a complex disease, affecting virtually every part of the body. The damage it does, to nerve endings, blood vessels, organs, and the...

If your child has diabetes, you want him or her to be safe while in school and to have the same educational opportunities as other children....