Have a Plant: Fruits & Veggies for Better Health

About The Buzz: Restricting Fruit Doesn’t Help Blood Sugar Levels?

TheBUZZ Restricting fruit doesn’t help blood sugar levels?

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Restricting fruit intake in individuals with type 2 diabetes isn’t beneficial to blood sugar levels.

WHAT WE KNOW

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Health professionals and researchers are unsure why certain people develop type 2 diabetes and others do not. It is clear, however, that certain factors increase the risk of developing the disease …

    • Weight. Being overweight is a primary risk factor for type 2 diabetes. The more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your cells become to insulin.
    • Fat Distribution. If your body stores fat primarily in your abdomen, your risk of type 2 diabetes is greater than if your body stores fat elsewhere, such as your hips and thighs.
    • Inactivity. A low activity level is exercising less than 3 times a week. The less active you are, the greater your risk of type 2 diabetes. Physical activity helps control your weight, uses up glucose as energy, and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin.
    • Family History. The risk of type 2 diabetes increases if your parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes.
    • Race. Although it’s unclear why, people of certain races — including African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians and Asian Americans — are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
    • Age. The risk of type 2 diabetes increases as you get older, especially after age 45, but type 2 diabetes is also increasing dramatically among children, adolescents and younger adults.
    • Gestational Diabetes. If you developed gestational diabetes when you were pregnant, your risk of developing type 2 diabetes later increases.

Of all the risk factors listed above, over two-thirds of them can be minimized by making healthy eating decisions and exercising! Some health professionals feel that fruit intake negatively affects blood sugar levels in those with type 2 diabetes. Until now, no research had been conducted to prove otherwise. A recent study challenged this very notion and found that fruit does not negatively affect glycemic control in those with type 2 diabetes.

HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?

Researchers collected self-reported dietary recalls from 63 men and women with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes. The participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups: advice to consume at least 2 pieces of fruit per day and advice to consume no more than 2 pieces of fruit per day. All participants in the study received medical nutrition therapy. After 12 weeks, both groups reduced body weight and waist circumference, and there was no difference in the blood sugar levels between the two groups. Researchers concluded that limiting fruit intake is not beneficial to individuals with type 2 diabetes, but more research is needed to explore this further.*

OUR ADVICE

Type 2 diabetes can be controlled and even prevented through diet and exercise. Eating a diet low in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and rich in fruits and veggies is an easy way to maintain a healthy weight. Fruits and vegetables are perfect nutrient-dense snacks to keep you full and satisfied throughout the day, and they help to maintain your blood glucose levels. Aim to fill half your plate with beautiful, tasty, nutrient-packed fruits and vegetables, and don’t forget whole grains and protein! Remember, it’s important to follow the advice of your physician and/or registered dietitian.

 

* Christensen, Allan S., Lone Viggers, Kjeld Hasselstrom, et al. “Effect of Fruit Restriction on Glycemic Control in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes – a Randomized Trial.” Nutrition Journal. 5 Mar. 2013. Web 20 Mar. 2013. View Article

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