Study: De­spite sugar, fruit cuts di­a­betes risk

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - — Nicholas Bakalar

A large study has found that eat­ing fresh fruit may re­duce the risk for de­vel­op­ing di­a­betes, and the risk for its com­pli­ca­tions.

Fresh fruit has well­known health ben­e­fits. But some ex­perts, and some peo­ple with di­a­betes, ques­tion whether its high sugar con­tent could pose risks.

The study, in PLOS Medicine,

tracked diet and health in 512,891 Chi­nese men and women ages 30-79 for an av­er­age of seven years, con­trol­ling for smok­ing, al­co­hol in­take, blood pres­sure and other fac­tors.

Among those with­out di­a­betes at the start, eat­ing fresh fruit daily was as­so­ci­ated with a 12 per­cent lower risk of de­vel­op­ing the dis­ease com­pared with those who ate none. The more fre­quently they ate fruit, the lower their risk.

In peo­ple who were al­ready di­a­betic, those who ate fruit three times a week had a 17 per­cent lower risk of all-cause mor­tal­ity, and a lower risk for di­a­betic com­pli­ca­tions such as heart and kid­ney dis­ease, than those who did not eat fruit.

The study was ob­ser­va­tional and the rea­son for the ef­fect re­mains un­clear. But the lead au­thor, Dr. Huaidong Du, a re­search fel­low at the Univer­sity of Ox­ford, said “the sugar in fruit is not the same as the sugar in man­u­fac­tured foods and may be me­tab­o­lized dif­fer­ently. And there are other nutri­ents in fruit that may ben­e­fit in other ways.”

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