Fruit is without doubt one of the most important food groups that we can eat. Whether it’s filling us with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals or giving us a natural energy boost, fruit should be an integral part of our diets – and along with vegetables, we should be consuming five portions of them every day.
There are often questions raised about the sugar content of fruit, and whether this can have a detrimental effect upon your blood sugar levels, particularly for diabetics.
Well new evidence suggests that a daily dose of fruit can actually lower your risk of diabetes and even help improve mortality in those already diagnosed with the disease. A recent, large study between the University of Oxford and a number of Centres for Disease Control and Prevention across China examined the health and diets of over 500,000 adults over seven years.
In participants free of diabetes, the researchers found a daily portion of fruit led to a 12 per cent lower risk of developing diabetes, compared to those who never or rarely eat fruit.
For diabetes sufferers, eating fresh fruit more than three days a week was linked to a 17 per cent lower risk of dying from any cause, as well as a 13 to 28 per cent reduced risk of developing a diabetes-related blood vessel complication, such as heart disease and diabetic retinopathy.
This is an incredibly relevant study, particularly considering the aforementioned stigma that can often follow the sugar content of fruit. This is especially true in China and other parts of Asia where fresh fruit is avoided in diabetics due to the suspected ‘dangers’ associated with sugar.
In fact, the study highlighted that “fresh fruit consumption was not associated with an elevated blood glucose level… even in people with diabetes”.
This study should hopefully dispel that myth and actively promote fruit consumption in diabetics and non-diabetics alike.
What we really should be avoiding is ‘added’ sugar, not the natural sugar you find in fruit. The host of other health-promoting compounds found in fruit, such as fibre, help to actually slow down the absorption of sugar.
The study didn’t mention specific fruits but the most widely consumed in China are apples, pears and oranges, which release sugars into the blood slower than bananas, grapes and tropical fruits, so they may be a safer bet for diabetics.Wishing you the best of health,
Editorial Health Researcher