Most of us know that eating fresh fruit and vegetables is good for our health. However, people diagnosed with diabetes may avoid fruit due to its high sugar content. New research investigates the health benefits of fresh fruit consumption among people with diabetes.
The researchers examined the effects of fruit consumption on almost 500,000 people enrolled in the China Kadoorie Biobank national study. Participants were aged between 30 and 79 and lived in 10 different areas across China.
The participants were clinically followed for approximately 7 years.
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During this follow-up period, 9,504 cases of diabetes were identified in participants who did not have diabetes at the beginning of the study.
Using Cox regression models, researchers analyzed 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.
In total, 18.8 percent of the participants said that they consumed fresh fruit every day, and 6.4 percent said that they never or rarely consumed them. Those who had been previously diagnosed with diabetes were three times as likely to not consume fruit than those without diabetes or with screen-detected diabetes.
The team found that people who did not have diabetes at the beginning of the study and consumed fresh fruit in high amounts had a significantly lower risk of diabetes. Additionally, those who had diabetes at the beginning of the study and 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 percent 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 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality and up to a 28 percent lower risk of developing both major and minor cardiovascular complications.
“Major” cardiovascular complications refer to events that affect large blood vessels (ischemic heart disease and stroke, for instance), while “minor” refers to those affecting small blood vessels (such as kidney diseases, eye disease, and neuropathy).
In absolute terms, this means that daily fruit-consumers had a 0.2 percent decrease in their absolute risk of developing diabetes over a 5-year period, and people diagnosed with diabetes had a 1.9 percent absolute reduction in the risk of mortality from all causes.