Losing weight could be as simple as changing how you eat, not what you eat! 22



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People who eat whole fruits are less likely to develop diabetes than those whose fruit intake is mainly in the form of juice.

In a paper published in the British Medical Journal, last month, Dr Isao Muraki and a team from the Harvard School of Public Health, the UK and Singapore examined the incidence of type 2 diabetes in over 180,000 participants in three long-term health studies over 3.5 million person-years.

The team considered ten fruits: grapes or raisins; peaches, plums or apricots; prunes; bananas; cantaloupe; apples or pears; oranges; grapefruit; strawberries; blueberries. Fruit juice included apple; orange; grapefruit and other fruit juices.

They sent food frequency questionnaires to participants every four years to assess their usual diet.

Participants responded with how often they consumed a standard portion of fruit. Responses, ranged from “never, or less than once per month” to “six or more times per day”.

The team also gathered information on participants’ body height and weight, cigarette smoking, physical activity, multivitamin use and family history of diabetes as well as menopausal status, post-menopausal hormone use and oral contraceptive use by women.

Over 12,000 (6.5%) of participants developed diabetes. Those who ate whole fruits were seven percent less likely than the average to develop diabetes while those who consumed fruit juice were more likely.

The researchers said; “greater consumption of specific whole fruits, particularly blueberries, grapes and apples was significantly associated with lower type 2 diabetes risk whereas greater fruit juice consumption was associated with a higher risk”.

The results did not depend on the glycaemic index of the particular fruit. However Apples, grapes and strawberries appeared the most effective in preventing diabetes, while substituting cantaloupe (rock) melons for juice had least effect.

The results support Australian dietary recommendations to increase the consumption of a variety of whole fruits as a measure for diabetes prevention.

Helen Mitchell – General Manager, Health Services Diabetes WA – said when managing diabetes whole fruits are better than juices because they contain fibre and other nutrients, which are lost during juicing.

“Fruit juice is often sweetened or diluted and does not contain whole fruits. A glass of orange or apple juice may contain the juice of up to five pieces of fruit.

“In managing diabetes it is best to choose low glycaemic index fruits. The body absorbs these more slowly. Fruit such as such as apples and bananas are better than most tropical fruits.

“The take home message for seniors to reduce the chance of becoming diabetic or to manage existing diabetes is to eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables,” she said.


How do you get your daily intake of fruit? What is your favourite way to eat it?

Frank Smith

Frank Smith is a retired agricultural scientist based in Perth. He runs his blog, www.seniorwellbeingnet.ipage.com/ and enjoys freelance journalist work. He was born in the UK and still has a ‘bloody plummy pommy accent’. He arrived in WA to run a pig farm near Margaret River in 1974. After a spell teaching soil science and agronomy at Muresk Institute of Agriculture he moved to the WA Department of Agriculture and handled media relations and publications for the Agriculture Protection Board (APB) for 17 years. He also spent 12 months as visiting professor of agricultural information at the University of Missouri-Columbia (USA). After that experience he now claims to be bilingual, speaking both English and American. He left the APB to run a publishing business, Hopscotch Publications P/L publisher of What’s On in Perth and Fremantle and the Western Liquor Guide with his wife, Mary-Helen. On retirement in 2002 Frank began a new career as a freelance writer and editor. He has contributed paid articles to more than 40 magazines and newspapers in four continents. He regularly writes for Have a Go News, Town and Country Farmer, Australian Dairy Farmer, Australian Forests and Timber and the Countryman. Frank has five children, all of whom have had the good sense to grow up and leave home, and eight grandchildren. He and Mary-Helen recently built a solar-passive home in the hills at Boya. They are busy trying to turn a clay-pan-cum-building-site into a native garden and veggie patch. They have no pets, but regular visits from quendas, blue wrens, sacred kingfishers and a kookaburra that arrives on cue as soon as the BBQ is lit to steal sausages. Frank’s ambition is to retire from paid work before he reaches 80.

  1. ……….. They sent food frequency questionnaires to participants every four years to assess their usual diet………..

    EVERY FOUR YEARS participants were asked to tell what they ate in the way of fruit …. gosh most of us cannot remember what we ate last week let alone four years ago! These type of studies are basically useless in my estimation.

    I can tell you factually what eating half an apple does to my blood glucose level because I test – and eat to my meter! And half a banana sends my sugars sky high……

    If however I eat half an apple smothered in nut butter (think almond, brazil and cashew) my BGL’s stay stable…… must be the fat content levelling out the fructose/glucose of the fruits…….

    We were NOT designed to eat fruits at high levels consistently. A Little seasonally was the norm.

    The YOU MUST eat X number of servings of fruits and vegetables every day to stay well and healthy was an advertising campaign…. and has become a well abused myth…… http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2012/03/five-a-day-the-truth/

  2. I start smelling like monkey vomit. Yuk

    1 REPLY
    • Shane,, What does monkey vomit smell like.. & why do you have a similar ‘smell’??? Please 😉

  3. My favourites are grapes, strawberries, nectarines, plums and peaches. I love bananas but they don’t keep well in the hot weather.

  4. Fruit has fibre, fruit juice is high in fructose. Try eating six apples, instead of apple juice. More likely you can only eat one or two. Stick with fresh fruit, much better for you

  5. At a natural health centre a speaker pointed out not many of us could eat 6 apples in one meal, but we have no problem in drinking the juice of the same number of fruit.

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