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The study authors used a research method called meta-analysis to combine four previously published studies on dietary flavonoids and type 2 diabetes risk. Flavonoids are a group of nutrients found in
The four studies created a total sample of 284,806 adults, a group in which 18,146 cases of newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes were reported. From this large pool of data, the researchers concluded that compared with adults who consumed the least flavonoids from food, those consuming the most were 9% less likely to be diagnosed with diabetes.
After accounting for other health factors that may be related to risk of type 2 diabetes, including age, gender, body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, other dietary factors (energy and fat intake), tobacco and alcohol use, exercise habits, and family history of diabetes, the analysis revealed that for every 500 mg per day increase in flavonoid intake, the risk of type 2 diabetes was reduced by 5%. These beneficial effects of flavonoids were most pronounced in people with an average age greater than 40 years, and were strongest in studies of 20 or more years’ duration.
How much do you need to eat to get 500 mg of flavonoids? Here are some approximations:
This study suggests that flavonoid-rich foods may protect against type 2 diabetes, though it included only observational studies and therefore cannot prove cause and effect. Still, the results agree with previous research, and with the overall science on diet and type 2 diabetes risk: enjoying more plant foods and beverages made from plants, such as tea, appears to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Our healthy lifestyle tips and tricks can help you put this information to work in your get-healthy, stay-healthy plan!
(Clin Nutr 2013; doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2013.03.011)