A higher consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains is linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, according to two recently published studies. Above all, the results suggest that even a small increase in such foods as part of a healthy diet could help prevent diabetes.
Prevention of type 2 diabetes with natural products
In the first study, a team of European researchers examined the link between vitamin C and carotenoids (pigments in colored fruits and vegetables) in blood levels with the risk of developing diabetes. In addition, these proved to be reliable indicators of fruit and vegetable intake. This was shown when using questionnaires in the study. The study results are based on 9754 adults who developed emerging type 2 diabetes. A comparison group also consisted of 13,662 adults who remained diabetes-free during the follow-up examination. 340,234 participants took part in the European Prospective Study on Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). This is the so-called InterAct study, which took place in eight European countries.
The lifestyle, as well as the social and dietary risk factors for diabetes type 2 depend on a higher blood level of vitamin C and carotenoids as well as their sum in combination with one "Composite Biomarker Score" together. The researchers linked this to a lower risk of developing diabetes. Compared to those with the lowest composite biomarker analysis, those in the top 20% of the population were at 50% lower risk. The risk in individuals with biomarkers between these two extremes was moderate. Additionally, researchers estimate that every 66 grams per day increase in total fruit intake in diabetes is associated with a 25% lower risk of type 2 disease.
Results from the second study
In the second study, researchers examined associations between total and individual dietary intake of whole grains and diabetes. Their results are based on 158,259 women and 36,525 men who were free from diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The participants in the highest category for total whole grain consumption had a 29% lower rate. The researchers compared this with the subjects in the lowest category. Eating one or more servings of cold cereal or dark bread per day reduced the risk by 19%. However, this risk reduction seemed to plateau at around two servings per day for total whole grain intake and around half a serving per day for cold whole grain cereals and dark bread.
Both studies are observational studies and so cannot determine a cause. Also, there is a possibility that some of the results are due to unmeasured factors. However, research takes into account several known lifestyle risk factors and nutritional quality markers. In addition, support these study results other research linking healthy eating to better health. The whole thing supports the current recommendations for increasing the consumption of fruit, vegetables and whole grains to prevent type 2 diabetes. Consumption in a moderately increased amount could therefore prevent such diseases in population groups who normally only consume small amounts.