A diet rich in certain fruits may help ward off type 2 diabetes, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The study involved more than 200,000 people and was originally created to see if a diet high in plant secondary metabolites known as flavonoids had any effect on the incidence of diabetes. The study focused on flavonoids subclasses such as flavonols, flavones, flavanones, flavan-3-ols, and anthocyanins, which includes fruits such as blueberries, apples and pears. For the study, participants filled out questionnaires about their eating habits.
While no significant findings about flavonoids were confirmed, fruits like blueberries, apples and pears were associated with a lower incidence of diabetes in more than 12,600 cases. According to nutritionist Leslie Beck, “Those who consumed the most blueberries had a 23 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared with those who ate no blueberries. People who ate five or more apples a week also had a 23 percent lower risk compared with those who didn’t eat apples. These results were found after accounting for other risk factors, such as body weight, cigarette smoking and a family history of diabetes.”
Diabetes is one of the nation’s greatest health problems. Diet and exercise are the first defense in treating the condition but many people need medication to control their blood sugar levels. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) greatly restricted the use of the type 2 diabetes pill Avandia after studies showed the drug increased the risk for fatal heart attacks. Months later, the FDA issued a warning about the type 2 diabetes drug Actos, after studies linked the medication to bladder cancer.