Fruit consumption has been known to possess positive health benefits due to their high content of fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. Apart from these, increased fruit consumption are highly recommended in prevention of a wide variety of chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes despite variability in opinions regarding its effectiveness.
Difference in the conclusions among these studies have been attributed partly to the differences in the types of fruits used, study designs, and differences in participant’s characteristics. In addition, the glycemic index representing the quantity and quality of carbohydrates and their interaction can greatly vary depending on the fruit consumed.
In a women’s health study, consumption of apples were inversely associated with the development of type 2 diabetes. In contrast, citrus fruit consumption has no correlation with the development of type 2 diabetes. Interestingly, consumption of fruits rich in anthocyanin such as berries, strawberries and red/black grapes are associated with lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Difference in diabetes risk among different fruits is attributed to the heterogeneity of fruit composition. Anthocyanin rich foods have been experimentally proven in mice to enhance glucose uptake in fat and muscle cells and reduced production of glucose by the liver (hence reduced sugar in the blood). Previous analyses showed that levels of anthocyanin intake is associated with a significantly reduced risk of type 2 diabetes .
Note should be taken into consideration that anthocyanin itself cannot reduce incidence of type 2 diabetes. Other constituents of individual fruits are also likely to reduce such risk. For example, red and white grapes contain high levels or resveratrol in its skin. A study on experimental rats confirmed that increased intake of resveratrol increases insulin sensitivity and hence, increase in blood sugar level is less likely.
Experimental models of rats also concluded that naringin, a substance present in high concentration of grapes, has the same mechanism of action as sitaglipitin, a drug that lowers blood sugar. Apples, prunes, peaches and apricots also inhibit glucose uptake thanks to cholorogenic acid. This substance can potentially improve the beneficial effects of coffee consumption.
Furthermore, fruit juice consumption poses greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes and lesser beneficial effects. These maybe due to increased glycemic load per serving and the juicing process itself. In addition, differences in viscosity are very likely to contribute to in the development of type 2 diabetes. Fluids (fruit juice) tend to pass to the digestive system rapidly and so, upon uptake in blood, it causes faster elevation of serum glucose compare to solids (whole fruit).
We have come to realization that not all fruits or their mode of preparation have equal benefits of helping us stay away from type 2 diabetes, although we can use this knowledge obtained to improve health outcomes. While it may be true that further research might still be needed to totally prevent diabetes type 2, the fact that we have these new discoveries on diabetes mechanisms already give us a good headstart.
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