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To look at potential connections between eating fruit and type 2 diabetes risk, researchers collected information on diet, physical activity, height, weight, cigarette smoking, and history of heart disease, diabetes, or cancer from 187,382 middle-aged men and women. Each participant was followed for between 18 and 24 years, and the study authors noted which people developed type 2 diabetes.
Compared with people eating less fruit, those who ate three or more weekly servings of apples and pears, bananas, blueberries, grapefruit, grapes and raisins, or total fruit were significantly less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Certain types of fruit seemed to reduce risk particularly well when consumed at least three times weekly, including
Eating cantaloupe appeared to increase risk, as did regularly drinking fruit juice.
While this study is observational, and therefore cannot prove cause and effect, it provides useful ideas about which fruit may be particularly beneficial for fending off type 2 diabetes, and it gives us a window into why previous studies, which only considered total fruit, have yielded conflicting results. While this study suggests that total fruit may reduce risk, it is possible that specific types of fruit have a more powerful effect than others.
Still, according to study author Qi Sun, epidemiologist and professor in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard’s School of Public Health, “We don’t want to leave the impression that there’s any magical fruit,” because this study only shows associations, not proof that certain fruits are the silver bullet for type 2 diabetes. To protect your health, a multifaceted approach is best:
(BMJ 2013;347:f5001 doi: 10.1136/bmj.f5001)