Diabetes is becoming an increasingly common health issue in the developed world. As a result of dietary changes and a more sedentary lifestyle, millions of Americans develop diabetes every year. Nearly 30 million Americans have diabetes, while an additional 8 million Americans may have diabetes but remain undiagnosed.
Type 2 diabetes is the more common form of diabetes, normally presenting itself in adulthood. It is largely brought on by poor diet, obesity, and lack of physical activity. With excessive sugar intake playing a role in the onset of type 2 diabetes, some experts have begun to recommend cutting back on fruit due to its sugar content. But can consumption of fruit really lead to developing diabetes?
The short answer is: probably not. In fact, recent studies have indicated that those who eat fresh fruit have a lower risk of developing diabetes. But it likely isn’t the fact that they eat fruit that results in the lowered risk of diabetes, it’s the fact that those who eat fresh fruit are likely eating a more balanced and healthier diet than those who don’t.
It’s important to remember, too, that those findings hold for fresh fruit. While US health authorities treat fruit juices as equivalent to fruit for the purposes of taking in the daily recommended dose of fruit and vegetables, nutritionally fresh fruit and fruit juice are not the same.
So if you’re drinking orange juice, eating fruit wraps and chocolate-covered strawberries, or indulging in raspberry sherbet or commercial fruit smoothies, you’re not really getting the same benefits as eating just fresh fruit. Beware, too, of juice cocktails, which mix a little bit of fruit juice with lots of sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. It’s those servings of “fruit” which if consumed in large quantities could help lead towards diabetes.
If you’re worried about the sugars from fresh fruit leading to diabetes, there’s likely nothing to be concerned about. Just remember that, as with all things food, moderation is key. Don’t pig out on fruit, but rather make it part of a healthy, balanced diet and you should be just fine.