While you can't control certain risk factors for type 2 diabetes, you can lower your risk of developing it through dietary choices. For example, new research suggests that adding just one more serving of fruit to your diet could delay the onset of the chronic condition.
According to a new study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, individuals who eat two servings of fruit a day have a 36% lower likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes than those who consume less than half a serving each day.
How could this study's findings impact you?
As of 2018, some 34.2 million people of all ages in the U.S. (or about 10.5% of the population) had diabetes, per the CDC's 2020 National Diabetes Statistics Report. It's important to keep in mind that type 2 diabetes accounts for 90%-95% of all diabetes cases. An estimated 345 million people are currently at risk of developing this medical condition.
However, experts regularly say that eating a predominantly plant-based diet can help protect you from chronic disease. While some risk factors are out of your control (age, gender, and family history), others are within grasp (diet, smoking, and physical activity).
"Studies show that people who regularly eat more whole grains, vegetables, fruit, beans, and nuts—and less red meat, processed meat, saturated fats, highly processed foods, and sugar—tend to have lower rates of both diabetes and heart disease," Becky Ramsing, MPH, RDN, and senior program officer at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Liveable Future, previously told Eat This, Not That!.
In this new study, researchers analyzed the data of more than 7,600 participants from the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute's Australian Diabetes, Obesity, and Lifestyle Study. Participants were asked to provide information on their fruit and fruit juice intake through a food frequency questionnaire.
"We found people who consumed around 2 servings of fruit per day had a 36% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes over the next five years than those who consumed less than half a serving of fruit per day," study author Nicola Bondonno, Ph.D., of Edith Cowan University's Institute for Nutrition Research in Perth, Australia, said in a statement.
"We did not see the same patterns for fruit juice. These findings indicate that a healthy diet and lifestyle, which includes the consumption of whole fruits, is a great strategy to lower your diabetes risk."
The researchers also determined that those who ate whole fruits produced less insulin to lower their blood glucose levels—a key finding given that high levels of circulating insulin can damage blood vessels, which could also increase the risk of high blood pressure.
Now, be sure to check out the 8 Low-Carb Fruits For Weight Loss.