Eating some fresh fruit daily lowers the chance of developing type 2 diabetes by 12 per cent, according to new research.
The lowering of diabetes risk for people eating fresh fruit each day was in comparison to people who ate fresh fruit rarely or never. The research therefore raises questions about the wider quality of diet of those eating no fresh fruit.
The researchers ran the study as abstention from eating fruit has become more prevalent in some countries, notably China. The reason for abstention is over worries that consumption of fructose in fruit might lead to health problems.
To date, there is no solid evidence that regular but moderate consumption of whole fruit presents any health risks. There is, however, some evidence that consumption of fruit juice may increase rates of type 2 diabetes.
The study carried out by the University of Oxford showed that eating a portion of fruit more than three times a week reduced the mortality rate of people with type 2 diabetes by 17 per cent. It also reduced the risk of developing cardiovascular complications by 28 per cent.
The research team monitored the fruit consumption of nearly 500,000 people over a seven-year period. Participants were recruited through the China Kadoorie Biobank national study.
The follow-up analysis showed more than 9,500 people were identified to have developed type 2 diabetes during the course of the study.
They study participants were asked to complete a questionnaire about their health and had their physical measurements and had blood tests taken.
Dr Huaidong Du, who led the study, said: “To our knowledge, this is the first large prospective study demonstrating similar inverse associations of fruit consumption with both incident diabetes and diabetic complications.
“For individuals who have already developed diabetes, restricted consumption of fresh fruit, which is common in many parts of the world, for example China and other Asian countries, should not be encouraged.”
The study has its limitations as it does not reveal why those that consumed little fruit were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and further health complications.
Those that did not consume fruit, for instance, may fall into more than two different groups. Those that abstained from fruit for health reasons, those that may have eaten a generally poor diet with little fruit or vegetable intake and those that had low fruit intake for other reasons.
The findings of the study have been published in the PLOS Medicine journal.

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