By some estimates, the number of people suffering from pre-diabetes or full-blown diabetes has now skyrocketed to one fifth of the population. These statistics are both alarming and sobering. Many are starting ask, “What are we doing wrong? Why are these numbers so high?”
There are numerous places to point the proverbial finger. Many of us simply do not eat properly. Our bodies thrive when fed simple, whole foods and yet a huge portion of the population forgoes cooking with fresh ingredients, opting instead to put their nutritional needs in the hands of processed foods or meals prepared at a restaurant.
Then too, the physical demands required of us on a daily basis have changed dramatically over the past century. Many of us are able to avoid manual labor all together. This creates a conundrum where we have to seek out physical exercise and specifically make time for it. While some people are good at this, many others are not and are consequently living a sedentary lifestyle.
More than anything, these two factors—a processed food diet and sedentary lifestyle—have caused diabetes to inflict on so many Americans. And therein lies the silver lining in in all of this: diabetes is treatable, and even more importantly—the disease is preventable.
All you have to do, for starters, is reach for some whole fruits instead of fruit juice. This simple modification to your diet takes you one big step closer to having healthy blood sugar levels. In a recent study, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found that the consumption of blueberries, grapes, and apples, as opposed to fruit juices made from these fruits, helped to slash the risk for diabetes by 23%.
This was a large-scale trial that included 187,382 men and women—all free from diabetes, heart disease, and cancer at the outset of the study. Dietary questionnaires were given to the participants every four years. The researchers tallied the numbers for whole fruit and fruit juice consumption.
What they found was that participants who ate whole blueberries, grapes, and apples at least twice a week showed the lowest risk for diabetes (23% reduced risk) when compared to those who ate less than one serving per month. On the other hand, those who consumed one or more servings of fruit juice increased their risk for getting diabetes by 21%.
The message is clear: if you want to prevent diabetes from becoming a part of your life, it’s time to swap fruit juice for whole fruit. You need the fiber in whole fruit to better regulate your blood sugar levels. Fiber slows down the absorption of fruit sugar so that you don’t experience the blood sugar spikes that can lead to diabetes over the long term. When you wake up in the morning, resist the urge to pour a glass of juice. Grab a handful of grapes and blueberries instead. For an afternoon snack—save the fruit smoothie for a special treat and eat an apple for a little energy mid-day instead.
Source(s) for Today’s Article:
“Eating whole fruits linked to lower risk for type 2 diabetes,” Harvard School of Public Health News web site, Aug. 29, 2013; http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/eating-whole-fruits-linked-to-lower-risk-of-type-2-diabetes/, last accessed Sept. 25, 2013.
Sun, Q., et al., “Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective longitudinal cohort studies,” BMJ. Aug 28, 2013; 347: f5001.