Does fruit consumption reduce the risk of diabetes type 2?

  • 1st Revision: Francesca Fitzgerald
  • 2nd Revision: Tamsin Rose
  • 3rd Revision: Tooba Shaker[Linkedin]

Based on a clinical research paper titled “Associations Between Fruit Intake and Risk of Diabetes in the AusDiab Cohort” 

By: Murielle Nsiela

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease affecting approximately  451 million individuals worldwide. This figure is expected to surpass 693 million by 2045 [1]. The condition alters how the body can process blood sugar (glucose). Type 2 diabetes can cause the body to produce little to no insulin or can cause the body to become unresponsive to insulin. Due to the nature of the disease and its prevalence worldwide, it is essential to find different strategies to treat or prevent the condition [2]. An enormous amount of evidence suggests that introducing a healthy diet and regular physical activity can help to mitigate type 2 diabetes [3]. 

It has been suggested that fruit intake can reduce the risks of diabetes. An Australian Diabetes Study found that those who had adhered to the recommended dietary guidelines of fruit consumption were 32% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes over 12 years [4]. However, it has been reported that not all fruits offer the same protection against diabetes due to the diverse effects that they can have on the body. Therefore, an additional study was conducted to investigate the relationship between the intake of total fruits, individual fruits and fruit juice, and insulin resistance. The study involved people assigned male at birth (AMAB) and people assigned female at birth (AFAB) aged 25 years and older. The results showed that the most consumed fruit were apples, which made up 23% of the total fruits intake, and bananas which came second (20% of fruit intake). Oranges and other citrus fruits comprised 18% of the total fruit intake [6]. Other fruits only contributed 8% and therefore were not included in the analysis. 

After the study was completed, the results showed that the body’s sensitivity to insulin was more accurately measured in individuals who consumed more fruit. Furthermore, researchers found that the risk of contracting type 2 diabetes differed with different types of fruits. It was concluded that, for three servings per week, blueberries reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by 26%, 12% for grapes and raisins, 7% for pears and apples, 5% for bananas and 5% for grapefruits. However, the results were different for cantaloupes, where the risk of developing type 2 diabetes increased by 10% for three servings per week. Although there was some association between fruit intake and a reduced risk of diabetes, the results obtained were contradictory; therefore further research would need to be conducted in this area. In addition, it was suggested that fruit juice increased the risks of type 2 diabetes by 10% [6]; there was, however, no relationship between consuming fruit juice and insulin resistance [7]. 

In conclusion, consuming whole fruits - but not fruit juice - is encouraged to prevent type 2 diabetes. Having a healthy lifestyle by consuming common fruits such as bananas, apples and oranges may help to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Murielle Nsiela

MSc Graduate in Medical Engineering - Bachelor's degree, Pharmaceutical Science, Keele University, Staffordshire UK

MSc in Medical Engineering Design, Keele University Modules included: Advanced engineering applications, Engineering for medical applications report, Bioreactors and Growth environment, Creative engineering design, Experimental research methodology and research projects

BSc (Hons) Pharmaceutical Science, Technology and Business, Keele University Modules included: Core topics in pharmaceutical science, Laboratory studies - tabletting and liposomes report, applied Pharmaceutical Science 2, Pharmaceutical research project

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