Researchers at Australia's Edith Cowan University (ECU) have found that study participants who ate two servings of fruit daily had a 36 per cent lower chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Nicola Bondonna, PhD, lead author of the study and researcher at the ECU's Institute for Nutrition Research said in a press release, “We found an association between fruit intake and markers of insulin sensitivity, suggesting that people who consumed more fruit had to produce less insulin to lower their blood glucose levels.”
She added, “This is important because high levels of circulating insulin can damage blood vessels and are related not only to diabetes, but also to high blood pressure, obesity, and heart disease.” Bondonno and her colleagues analyzed data from 7,675 Australians who participated in the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute's AusDiab Study to assess intake of fruit and fruit juice and the rate of diabetes after 5 years.
They reported that the participants who had high intake of fruit had better measures for both glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. Lauri Wright, PhD, RDN, LD/N, assistant professor in public health at the University of North Florida, said the results aren't surprising. “The findings reinforce the power of nutrition and food in preventing and managing the development of chronic disease such as diabetes. The results are very important because many people falsely believe that fruit should not be consumed by people with diabetes,” she said in an interview.
She added, “Fruits are a great choice for lowering diabetes risk because of their fiber content and natural sugar content. Dried fruits and juice are more concentrated sources of sugar, so limiting the portion size is important.” She recommends losing weight and increasing physical activity in particular.
She says, “Not only does exercise help control your weight, but it also improves insulin activity. Emphasize whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Choose lean meats, including fish, and dairy. This is a meal pattern very similar to the Mediterranean diet, which has been shown to improve blood sugar control in diabetics and pre diabetics.”