Eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods could lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, researchers in the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) have revealed.
According to findings of two new studies, a healthier diet of whole grains, fruits and vegetables along with regular physical activity, no smoking and maintaining a healthy weight — could significantly impact their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Both research teams said their results back up recommendations to increase fruit, vegetable and whole grain consumption as part of a healthy diet to prevent type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is a long-term medical condition in which the body doesn’t use insulin properly, resulting in unusual blood sugar levels. The condition develops when the body becomes resistant to insulin or when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin. Exactly why this happens is unknown, although genetics and environmental factors, such as being overweight and inactive, seem to be contributing factors.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in 2016 and is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation.
In one of the studies, researchers looked at more than 9,700 people who developed type 2 diabetes and over 13,600 who didn’t. Participants were from eight European countries and part of a long-term cancer and nutrition study, and found that people who consumed the highest levels of fruit and vegetable were 50 per cent less likely to develop diabetes than those with the lowest levels.
Every 66 grams a day (2.3 ounces) increase in total fruit and vegetable intake was associated with a 25 per cent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, Nita Forouhi, of the University of Cambridge in the UK and colleagues calculated.
The other study included more than 158,000 U.S. women and over 36,000 U.S. men.
The ‘Newsmax’ reported that after adjusting for lifestyle and dietary risk factors for diabetes, people with the highest levels of whole grain consumption had a 29 per cent lower rate of type 2 diabetes than those with the lowest levels, the findings showed.
The reductions in diabetes risk appeared to plateau at around two servings a day for total whole grain intake, and at around half a serving a day for whole grain cereal and dark bread, according to Qi Sun, an associate professor of nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues.