A new study, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) this month has concluded that there is a definitive link between eating more fruits & vegetables and lowering your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes by up to 50%.  One of the key takeaways from this research is that even eating one more portion of fruit & veg a day, can reduce your risk of diabetes by 25%.

Here’s the lowdown on the study:

8 Countries. 23,416 people. 16 years.

Why is this study different?

Previous research in this area has used food frequency questionnaires to determine fruit & vegetable intake, which can be subject to inconsistent measurement and “recall bias”. This study used measurements of circulating blood plasma Vitamin C and Carotenoids as biomarker for fruit & vegetable intake.

Why is this better?

A meta-analysis of up to 96 intervention studies found that blood vitamin C and several carotenoids were the most consistently responsive biomarkers for fruit and vegetable intake.

The study found that there was an inverse relationship with people who ate the most fruit & vegetables and cases of type 2 diabetes, and those who ate the fewest fruit & veg had the highest rates of Type 2 diabetes, across the populations of all 8 European Countries. Type 2 diabetes is also called “adult-onset” because it is not genetic in nature but is brought on by lifestyle factors such as dietary choices. 

Takeaway:

The more fruit & veg consumed per day, the lower the risk of diabetes. Just one additional portion of fruit & veg a day (66g) was found to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 25%. With higher consumptions of 8 portions a day (508g) could reduce the risk by 50%. 

With the number of people in the UK not hitting the ‘5-a-day’ guidelines at 69-75%, and as high as 85% in Europe. The study argues that it might be time to update the 5-a-day guidelines to “Just one more serving of plant-based food a day” based on this research.

This is particularly important for people following “certain popular dietary regimens that favour low carbohydrate intake, including advice to limit the consumption of many fruits and vegetables”, who could be negatively impacting their health.

The more fruit & veg consumed per day, the lower the risk of diabetes.

Finally it notes that “ these findings and other available evidence suggest that fruit and vegetable intake, rather than vitamin supplements, is potentially beneficial for the prevention of type 2 diabetes”.

Phoebe, Co-Founder of FOGA says “what’s really important about this study is that it demonstrates that the small changes really add up. You don’t need to be overhauling your life to make a difference – a good smoothie a day can have a massive impact.”

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