Study: You may be less likely to get diabetes if you eat whole fruit

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There’s more evidence that increasing your fruit intake can lead to health benefits.

A recently published study from the Endocrine Society said that two daily servings of fruit are linked to 36% lower chances of developing Type 2 diabetes compared to people who eat less than half a serving.

The findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

“Fruit, but not fruit juice, intake is inversely associated with Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). However, questions remain about the mechanisms by which fruits may confer protection,” the authors wrote in the abstract.

“These findings indicate that a healthy diet and lifestyle which includes the consumption of whole fruits is a great strategy to lower your diabetes risk,” study author Nicola Bondonno, Ph.D., of Edith Cowan University’s Institute for Nutrition Research in Perth, Australia said in a press release.

More than 34 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, which affects over 10% of the population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes diets recommend plentiful fruits, vegetables and whole grains. According to the Mayo Clinic, a healthy eating plan can lower blood sugar, control weight and regulate heart disease risk factors, including high blood pressure.

The Endocrine Society study saw researchers analyze data from 7,675 participants. Those involved were from the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute’s Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study. They filled out a food frequency questionnaire to give information on their fruit and fruit juice intake. Researchers discovered participants who consumed more whole fruits had 36% lower chances of having diabetes in five years. A link between fruit consumption and insulin sensitivity markers was also found. That meant those who ate more fruit had to produce less insulin to reduce their blood sugar levels.

“This is important because high levels of circulating insulin (hyperinsulinemia) can damage blood vessels and are related not only to diabetes but also to high blood pressure, obesity and heart disease,” Bondonno said.