Fruit and Diabetes

Fruit is almost always encouraged as part of a healthy diet, and most dietary guidelines recommend the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables, often lumping them both into the same category. But is fruit as healthy as vegetables for everyone? Researchers tracked over half a million Chinese adults for seven years and found, through blood testing and other measurements, that higher fresh fruit consumption was associated with a 12%  lower risk of  developing diabetes. In diabetic participants, they noted lower risks of death and less major vascular complications. Non-diabetics ate fresh fruit daily, compared to the control group of rarely or never. They studied diabetics who consumed fresh fruit more than three days a week compared to the control group of one day per a week. The results for diabetics: 17% reduced risk of dying from any cause and a 13%–28% lower risk of developing diabetes-related complications, such as heart attacks, strokes, kidney diseases, eye diseases, and neuropathy.

These are very interesting results considering diabetes affects almost half a billion people worldwide, and increases the risk of developing many chronic health conditions. A huge concern is that the data did not assess how much fruit is too much. Over the years, we have tested many glucose levels on patients who eat high quantities of fruit daily (3+ servings) and often these patients consider fruit the same as vegetables. Multiple servings of fresh vegetables should be eaten by everyone daily. But fruit contains more sugar and should be limited in certain people or the results can include unhealthy blood sugar levels. Additionally, studies like the Nurses’ Health Study, also found an increased incidence of diabetes with higher fruit consumption. Eating one serving fresh fruit a few days per week is a much different story than eating it all day long.