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Diet Dos, Don'ts to Cut Diabetes Risk

Studies Suggest Eating Fruits, Vegetables and Cutting Down on Sugary Drinks

Beverage Industry Reaction continued...

"We agree that type 2 diabetes is an important public health problem, particularly among African- American women, but it is important to recognize that beverage consumption is not an identified risk factor for the disease," says Maureen Storey, PhD, the American Beverage Association's senior vice president for science policy.

Storey points out that the study recommends that women trying to lose weight may find it easier to do so if they switch from regular sodas to diet sodas. She also notes that the study's link between fruit-drink consumption and type 2 diabetes "is very weak or nonexistent. Therefore, avoiding these drinks may have no effect on diabetes risk."
Lastly, Storey says it's not clear whether the researchers controlled for total energy intake -- the total number of calories the women consumed from all sources. An imbalance between energy intake (calories consumed) and energy output (calories burned) can lead to weight gain over time, "and that, aside from family history, is the most important factor in development of type 2 diabetes," says Storey.

Fruits and Vegetables May Cut Diabetes Risk

Eating more fruits and vegetables may cut diabetes risk, according to another study in the journal.

The study included nearly 22,000 adults in Norfolk, England. When the study started, they got a checkup, provided blood samples, and completed a diet and lifestyle survey.

Over the next 12 years, 735 of the participants developed diabetes.

After controlling for multiple other lifestyle factors, including vitamin supplement intake, the diagnosis of diabetes was 62% less likely in people with the highest blood levels of vitamin C and 22% less likely in those with the highest intake of fruits and vegetables. Participants with the highest vitamin C levels ate five to six servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

"Because fruit and vegetables are the main sources of vitamin C, the findings suggest that eating even a small quantity of fruit and vegetables may be beneficial and that the protection against diabetes increases progressively with the quantity of fruits and vegetables consumed," write the researchers, who included Anne-Helen Harding, PhD, of Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, England.

Low-Fat Diet: No Impact?

The third study set out to see whether a low-fat diet would lower diabetes risk in healthy postmenopausal women. But that turned out to be a tall order.

The study included nearly 46,000 postmenopausal U.S. women. The researchers, who included Lesley Tinker, PhD, of Seattle's Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, split the women into two groups.

One group was assigned to cut their dietary fat to 20% of their daily calories, down from about 38% at the study's start. Women in that group also got intensive nutritional and behavioral counseling and regular group meetings to help them meet the low-fat goal.

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