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Around 1.7 million Australians have diabetes, which is one of the biggest challenges facing global health, coming with a substantial burden of death, disease and cost.

A lot of diabetes prevention and management advice focuses on diet, with most diabetes guidelines recommending a diet rich in fruits and leafy green vegetables.

While there is little contention surrounding the recommendation of high vegetable intake, there is hesitation among some people with diabetes to increase fruit consumption, given its sugar content. Researchers looked at the association between fresh fruit consumption, the risk of developing diabetes and diabetes-related risk of death and major vascular complications.

Participants were from 10 urban and rural sites in China. Their demographic and health information was recorded at the beginning of the study.

Part of this was dietary data, assessing type and frequency of consumption of different foods, including fresh fruit. They were assessed for incidence of diabetes, diabetes-related death, and diabetes-related vascular complications.

Increased fresh fruit consumption was found to be associated with a lower risk of developing diabetes.

For those who had diabetes at the beginning of the study, a higher fresh fruit intake was associated with reduced risk of diabetes-related death and lower risk of hospitalisation due to diabetic vascular complications.

Higher fresh fruit intake was not associated with increased blood glucose levels.

Implications

Fresh fruit may be a beneficial addition to the diet if you’re living with diabetes. It’s also important to engage with other positive lifestyle behaviours including getting plenty of physical activity, not smoking, and keeping alcohol consumption to a minimum.

Last Reviewed: 27/12/2019

© Norman Swan Medical Communications.



References

Du, H et al. (2017). Fresh fruit consumption in relation to incident diabetes and diabetic vascular complications: A 7-y prospective study of 0.5 million Chinese adults. PLOS Med 14(4): e1002279. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002279.