While most people are aware of the benefits of fresh fruit (and vegetables), many diabetics avoid fruit due to the high sugar content. This study set out to see if it was possible for them to reverse their thinking, and include fruit on a more regular basis.
A recent study led by Huaidong Du at the UK’s University of Oxford looked at this subject; they came up with some interesting conclusions.
Why Do This Study?
The initial motivation was to investigate the long-term effects of consuming fresh fruit. Would it reduce the possibility of developing diabetes? Would it reduce the risk of diabetes-induced cardiovascular events?
To their knowledge, the research team believed no other studies had looked at these subjects to date. They chose a selection of patients with and without diabetes, and began their investigations.
Almost 500,000 people enrolled in the study. Their ages ranged between 30 to 79 years, and they lived in 10 different areas across China. The duration of participation was approximately 7 years, during which the participants were actively monitored.
Using Cox regression models, researchers analysed the correlations with consumption of fresh fruit while also adjusting for age, sex, location, socioeconomic status, body mass index (BMI), and family history of diabetes.
The team found that people with no diabetes at the beginning, who consumed large amounts of fresh fruit, had a significantly lower risk of diabetes in the future than those who did not consume much or any fruit.
Additionally those with diabetes at the beginning of the study, who consumed high amounts of fruit, had a significantly lower risk of dying from any cause, as well as a lower risk of developing cardiovascular complications.
More specifically, in comparison with the other study participants, those who consumed fresh fruit daily had a 12% lower relative risk of developing diabetes.
Study participants who had diabetes at baseline but consumed fresh fruit more than three times per week had a 17% lower risk of all-cause mortality and up to a 28% lower risk of developing both major and minor cardiovascular complications.
In short, this indicates that daily fruit-consumers had a 0.2% decrease in their absolute risk of developing diabetes over a 5-year period, and people diagnosed with diabetes had a 1.9% absolute reduction in the risk of mortality from all causes.
Du and team explain the significance of these findings:
“These findings suggest that a higher intake of fresh fruit is potentially beneficial for primary and secondary prevention of diabetes.”
“For individuals who already have diabetes, fresh fruit consumption should not be limited.”
This research was published in the journal PLOS Medicine.