Low fruit intake does not improve glycemic control

March 11, 2013

A study published in Nutrition Journal shows that fruit consumption may not improve glycemic control for type 2 diabetes patients. For those with type 2 diabetes, most guidelines recommend eating a diet with a high intake of fiber-rich food including fruit. However, some health professionals have concerns that fruit intake has a negative impact on glycemic control and therefore recommend restricting the fruit intake.

The researchers investigated whether an advice to reduce the intake of fruit to patients with type 2 diabetes affects HbA1c (a lab test that shows the average level of blood sugar), bodyweight, waist circumference, and fruit intake. This was an open randomized controlled trial with two parallel groups. Participants were randomized to one of two interventions: medical nutrition therapy + advice to consume at least two pieces of fruit a day (high-fruit) or medical nutrition therapy + advice to consume no more than two pieces of fruit a day (low-fruit). All participants had two consultations with a registered dietitian. Fruit intake was self-reported using three-day fruit records and dietary recalls.

The study population consisted of 63 men and women with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes. All patients completed the trial. The high-fruit group increased fruit intake with 125 g and the low-fruit group reduced intake with 51 g. HbA1c decreased in both groups with no difference between the groups. Both groups reduced body weight and waist circumference; however, there was no difference between the groups.

The researchers concluded that recommendations to reduce fruit intake as part of standard medical nutrition therapy in overweight patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes resulted in eating less fruit. It had however no effect on HbA1c, weight loss, or waist circumference. “We recommend that the intake of fruit should not be restricted in patients with type 2 diabetes,” wrote the researchers.