Fruit Doesn’t Hurt Diabetes Control

Type 2 diabetes patients maintained blood sugar control with increase or decrease in fruit

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) While it's hard to find a healthier snack option than a piece of fresh fruit, some docs have expressed concern that the natural sugars in fruit may cause issues for people with type 2 diabetes. Researchers put this thought to the test.

Changes in waist size, weight lost and blood sugar control were no different in type 2 diabetes patients who ate more fruit than those who ate less, according to a recently published study.

Researchers recommended that fruit intake should not be restricted in people with type 2 diabetes, especially considering the benefits that fruit has to offer.

"Carry dried fruit with you for an easy snack."

In type 2 diabetes, the body cannot properly use the hormone insulin, which causes a buildup of the blood sugar glucose in the bloodstream. This can lead to serious complications including damage to the nerves and kidneys, as well as cardiovascular disease.

Researchers, led by Allan Christensen, MHSc, from the Department of Nutrition at Regional Hospital West Jutland in Denmark, looked at how fruit consumption affected blood sugar control.

To assess blood sugar levels, the researchers used HbA1c – a measure of blood sugar over time. They also tested whether there were any changes to body weight and waist size. 

The study included 63 men and women who were newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Participants met twice with a registered dietician and were assigned to one of two groups.

The first group was told to eat at least two pieces of fruit a day while the second group was instructed to eat no more than two pieces. The study lasted twelve weeks.

The first group increased fruit intake by 125 grams, while the second group reduced their intake by 51 grams.

Researchers found that HbA1c levels decreased in both groups, no matter how much fruit was consumed. The difference in HbA1c level between both groups was less than 1 percent.

Body weight and waist size also decreased in both groups with no difference between groups.

Other changes in diet that accompanied the change in fruit consumption might explain why there was little difference between the groups, according to researchers.

"We did not measure total energy intake, but weight and physical activity were similar between the groups and therefore energy intake must have been more or less the same in both groups too," researchers wrote in their report.

"When changing the fruit intake, other changes in the diet most likely occur and this would explain that there was no difference in HbA1c, body weight and waist circumference despite the significant difference in fruit intake."

The authors noted they did not take medication intake into account. Also, participants might have over- or underreported how much fruit they actually consumed.

The study was published March 5 in Nutrition Journal. No conflicts of interest were reported.

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Review Date: 
March 7, 2013
Last Updated:
August 15, 2013