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Healthy diet linked to reduced diabetes risk

Thursday July 9th 2020

Eating a diet with generous portions of fruit, vegetables and whole grain foods is associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to two studies published today.

The research teams say the findings in their observational studies, which appear in the latest edition of The BMJ, provide further support for current recommendations to increase fruit, vegetable and whole grain consumption as part of a healthy diet to prevent type 2 diabetes.

A European study examined the association between blood levels of vitamin C and carotenoids with risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

They examined 340,234 participants who took part in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-InterAct study in eight European countries and looked at 9,754 adults who developed new-onset type 2 diabetes and compared them with 13,662 adults who remained free of the condition during follow-up.

The team found higher blood levels of each of vitamin C and carotenoids and their sum when combined into a “composite biomarker score” were associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

They calculated that every 66 grams per day increase in total fruit and vegetable intake was associated with a 25% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The second study, undertaken in the USA, examined associations between total and individual whole grain food intake and type 2 diabetes.

Their findings are based on 158,259 women and 36,525 men who did not have diabetes, heart disease and cancer and who took part in the Nurses’ Health Study, Nurses’ Health Study II, and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.

The researchers found that those who were in the highest category for total whole grain consumption had a 29% lower rate of type 2 diabetes compared with those in the lowest category.

Consuming one or more servings a day of whole grain cold breakfast cereal or dark bread was associated with a 19% and 21% respectively lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared with consuming less than one serving a month.

They also found that twice weekly or more consumption of oatmeal was associated with a 21% lower risk for type 2 diabetes for oatmeal, while for bran it was a 15% lower risk, and a 12% lower risk for brown rice and wheat germ, compared those who ate them less than once a month.

Zheng J-S, Sharp SJ, Imamura F et al. Association of plasma biomarkers of fruit and vegetable intake with incident type 2 diabetes: EPIC-InterAct case-cohort study in eight European countries. BMJ 9 July 2020

Hu Y, Ding M, Sampson L et al. Intake of whole grain foods and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective cohort studies. The BMJ 9 July 2020

Tags: Diabetes | Diet & Food | Europe | North America

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