Image credit: plumandjello/Flickr

Eating more fruit, particularly apples, grapes, and blueberries, has been shown to lower the risk of developing type-2 diabetes, according to a study in the British Medical Journal.

The study was conducted by researchers from the U.K, U.S., and Singapore.  The team culled data from three large studies of nurses and health professionals from the United States to investigate the link between consumption of whole fruits and the risk of contracting type-2 diabetes.  Over the course of the studies, 6.5% of participants (around 12,000 out of 187,382) contracted the disease.  Fruits considered in the study included grapes or raisins, apples or pears, peaches, strawberries, and blueberries, among others.  Fruit juices included orange, apple, and grapefruit.  Researchers found that three servings daily of apples & pears, grapes & raisins, and blueberries reduced the risk of developing type-2 diabetes.  Blueberries in particular cut the risk by 26% compared with 2% for three servings of any whole fruit – though fruit juice did not show a similar effect.

Qi Sun, senior author of the study, stated in a telephone interview with Bloomberg that people should “replace fruit juice with solid fruits, maintaining the same energy level” while substituting a less healthy option with a healthier one.  This adds to a growing body of evidence that eating fruit is beneficial to our health, and is the strongest confirmation to date that it can also lower the risk of type-2 diabetes.

To gather information about the eating habits of the participants, researchers submitted a questionnaire every four years, where participants were asked how often they consumed each food in a standard portion size.  The study showed that increased consumption of fruit juice was associated with a higher risk of developing type-2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease.

Substitution of juices with whole fruits was shown to lower this risk, with the exception of strawberries and cantaloupe, researchers said.  “Some fruits are more beneficial than others, in terms of diabetes prevention,” Sun said. “Based on our data, blueberries, apples, grapes and raisins are preferred.”

Image Source: Dimita Nikolov/Flickr