If you carry a bit of extra weight around your middle, you’ve probably heard (more than once) that cutting out ultra-processed junk foods and getting some weekly exercise can help you avoid major health problems down the road.
But there’s one piece of advice—commonly doled out by doctors to their overweight patients with blood sugar problems—that’s outdated and just WRONG.
In fact, according to a major, new study, following this advice could put you at risk for developing Type II diabetes in just five years!
Here’s what you need to know…
The growing epidemic of Type II diabetes
Nearly half a billion people worldwide suffer from Type II diabetes. And consuming more ultra-processed foods, wit
When you eat these foods, sugar floods into your bloodstream, triggering insulin production by your pancreas. At first, the pancreas does its job adequately…producing just enough insulin to drive the sugar out of your blood and into your tissues.
But over time, if you continue with a high-sugar/high-carb, processed foods diet, your body can develop “insulin resistance,” where your pancreas must produce more and more insulin to get rid of the sugar.
Eventually, your tissues can become completely resistant to the effects of insulin. (That’s why insulin-like drugs are NOT the answer.) Plus, higher insulin in the blood can damage blood vessels and lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and other problems.
Well, it turns out, one thing many doctors STILL think people should avoid (to keep their blood sugar under control) is the VERY THING they should eat more of…because it improves insulin resistance! I’m talking about fresh, whole fruit…
MORE fruit linked with LOWER Type II diabetes risk
For this new study, researchers followed almost 8,000 men and women, with an average age of 54 years, for 12 years. At the study’s outset, the participants answered food surveys about their intake of fresh fruits and fruit juices.
It turns out, after five years, those who consumed about two servings of whole fruits per day had a 36 percent LOWER risk of developing Type II diabetes compared to those who consumed less than half a serving of fruit per day.
Plus, the researchers noted a healthy association between intake of fruits and healthy metabolism biomarkers. Specifically, those who ate more fruits had better markers of insulin sensitivity and needed to produce less insulin to keep blood sugar levels lower.
Of course, these findings make perfect sense and align with my long-standing recommendations to enjoy whole, fresh fruit daily in four important ways…
1.) Fruit is packed with vital nutrients. Whole, fresh, organic fruit contain loads of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that protect you against disease and may even help regulate insulin sensitivity. They’re also high in natural fibers, which slow and regulate digestion and hold back release of sugar into the bloodstream.
2.) Fruits keep you feeling satisfied. Whole, fresh, organic fruits also keep you feel fuller, longer by increasing satiety, which can help you avoid consuming empty calories.
3.) Natural sugars don’t behave like table sugar. As I often report, we know that the natural sugar (fructose) found in whole, fresh fruits does NOT cause the metabolic disruptions that table sugar (sucrose) does. And, of course, sucrose is found in processed confections, pre-packaged foods, and some fruit drinks. (“Soft drinks” typically contain high-fructose corn syrup, which is just as bad, or worse as, I discussed yesterday.)
4.) You can set a more achievable target. As I recently reported, emerging research on diet and health suggests that you don’t need to follow the government’s unfounded recommendation to eat six to eight servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Instead, it seems that enjoying just five servings of fruits and vegetables per day significantly reduces your all-cause mortality (death) risk…as well as your risk of developing three common chronic diseases!
So, setting a more achievable target of just two fruits (and three vegetables) daily aligns quite sensibly with these more recent findings.
Fall is a great time of year to enjoy fresh fruit
In the end, my advice remains the same—whether or not you have Type II diabetes: Strive to eat two servings of whole, fresh, organic fruit ¾ and three servings of vegetables ¾ each day.
I find at this time of year, there is a bounty of fall fruits to enjoy—including apples, cranberries, figs, grapes, kumquats, pears, persimmons, and pomegranates. You can even go pick your own apples at a local farm…and get some healthy outdoor exercise in at the same time!
You may also find picking pumpkins at a local pumpkin patch. And the good news is, pumpkin and pumpkin seeds provide nutritional health benefits, too! In fact, I outline my favorite pumpkin purée and pumpkin seed recipes in the current issue of my monthly Insiders’ Cures newsletter (“Two fall favorites hold scary-good health benefits”). So, if you aren’t already a subscriber, now is the perfect time to become one.
“Associations Between Fruit Intake and Risk of Diabetes in the AusDiab Cohort.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2021; dgab335. doi.org/10.1210/clinem/dgab335