The British Medical Journal has recently published an analysis of three studies which involved researchers from the US, the UK and Singapore. The results demonstrate that whole fruits, especially apples, grapes and blueberries, can actually significantly reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Type 2 is the form of diabetes where the body produces too little insulin. Type 1 is where the body doesn’t produce any insulin at all.
APPLES TO REDUCE RISK OF DIABETES
The study showed that just two whole apples a week could reduce the onset of type 2 by up to 23%. This study is the first one to investigate how different fruits affect diabetes. Professor Qi Sun, the head researcher from Brigham Women’s Hospital in the US, said they looked at data which had been collected over a 24 year period (1984 to 2008) from 187,382 subjects. At the beginning of the study, none of the subjects were diabetic, had cancer or heart conditions.
SUBJECTS’ FRUIT CONSUMPTION ANALYSED
During the time of the study, 12,121 people became diabetic. Researchers analysed each person’t fruit consumption, looking no only at how much fruit, but at what type of fruit and when it was consumed whole, cooked or juiced. The subjects were given food questionnaires to complete every four years. They then isolated certain fruits for closer analysis:- blueberries, strawberries, plums, peaches, apricots, bananas, pears, oranges, cantaloupe melon, apples, prunes, grapes and raisins.
FRUIT JUICE INCREASES RISK
The study showed that people who drank one or more fruit juices a day, could increase their chances of becoming diabetic by up to 21%. It was found, that if three of these fruit juices were exchanged for whole fruits, there was a 7% drop in the chances of becoming diabetic.
Fruit juice ranks high on the glycemic index and, being a liquid, it passes quickly through the digestive system. Whole fruits which are high in fiber, take much longer to pass through the digestive system. Researchers theorize that this is probably why high consumption of fruit juice increases the risk of becoming diabetic.
Isao Muraki, a research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, said, “Our data further endorses current recommendations on increasing whole fruits, but not fruit juice, as a measure for diabetic prevention.”
BENEFICIAL EFFECTS OF INDIVIDUAL FRUITS
Researchers believe that certain fruits have beneficial effects which stave off the onset of type 2 diabetes. Berries and grapes contain anthocyanins which are thought to help with preventing heart attacks.
The study concluded that blueberries reduced the risk of the onset of diabetes by 26%.
Whole apples contain the soluble fiber pectin, this means that the sugars are released more gradually into the bloodstream, thus helping to regulate blood sugar levels. For the most beneficial effect, apples should be eaten unpeeled as this increases the fiber content. The phytonutrients found in apples probably helps fight fructose toxicity. Apples contain quercetin which has been found to hinder, or even block, fructose toxicity.
One apple contains 4 g of soluble fiber which amounts to 17% of our daily needs for a healthy colon and maintaining blood sugar levels. An apple also has 8 g of vitamin C and they are high in antioxidants and flavanoids.
The study shows that eating whole fruit as part of a balanced diet, can prevent type 2 diabetes. Health professionals advocate a healthy diet with fresh fruit and vegetables and regular exercise. This combination assists in the prevention of many diseases, not only diabetes.
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