All fruits are not created equal, according to a new study.
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, the United Kingdom, and Singapore have discovered which fruits are specifically associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and whether drinking their juiced counterparts provides the same nutritional benefits. The verdict? Blueberries for win. Cantaloupes, not so much.
The study involved 187,382 men and women from three different cohorts, all of whom were free of any major chronic diseases at the start. Along with reports of their diets, researchers took note of the participants’ body mass index, smoking habits, physical activity, multivitamin use, and family history of diabetes.
Every four years, the participants reported their fruit and juice consumption to the researchers, who focused on ten fruits: grapes or raisins; peaches, plums, or apricots; prunes; bananas; cantaloupe; apples or pears; oranges; grapefruit; strawberries; and blueberries. They also documented the participants’ consumption of apple, orange, and grapefruit juices.
By the end of the study, 6.5 percent of participants had developed type 2 diabetes. Researchers determined that the key to preventing the disease was having three servings per week of blueberries, grapes or raisins, and apples or pears. Blueberries proved to offer the best preventive benefits, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes by 33 percent. Next came grapes or raisins, apples or pears, bananas, and grapefruit, respectively.
Eating cantaloupe and strawberries, on the other hand, provided little to no benefits in preventing type 2 diabetes.
As for fruit juice, researchers determined that those who consumed more fruit juice than whole fruit were more likely to increase their type 2 diabetes risk.
The full study was published in the British Medical Journal.