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Diabetes (especially type 2 diabetes) is a big health concern in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 10.5% (34.2 million) of the U.S. population have diabetes and an additional 34.5% (88 million) of adults in the U.S. have prediabetes. Because of this, any advances (no matter how small) that can help to prevent and manage diabetes is important

A Reason to Eat More Fruit

The study used data from 7,675 Australians. Researchers found that participants who ate more fruit had lower blood insulin levels, less beta cell activity (beta cells are found in the pancreas and are responsible for the production and secretion of insulin) and greater insulin sensitivity. Participants who ate a moderate amount of fruit had a 36% lower risk of developing diabetes in five years compared to those who had the lowest intake of fruit.

This suggests that participants who ate more fruit had to produce less insulin to lower their blood glucose levels. This is significant because high insulin levels (hyperinsulinemia) can damage blood vessels and are related not only to diabetes but also to high blood pressure, obesity, and heart disease.

The study found an association between fruit intake and development of diabetes, not a causal relationship. More research is needed to ensure that the findings are relevant for everyone.

Whole Fruit Is Best

The same benefits were not found when juice was the source of fruit, only with whole fruits. Besides being high in vitamins and minerals, fruits are a great source of phytochemicals (which may increase insulin sensitivity) and fiber (which slows the release of sugar into the blood and helps with satiety). Additionally, most of the sugar in fruit has a lower glycemic index, meaning the fruit’s sugar is digested and absorbed into the body more slowly.

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