Eating a plant-based diet has been associated with improved cardiovascular health, weight loss, a decreased risk of certain cancers, and possibly a decreased risk of diabetes. This week, in an early online edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers studied the association of fruit, berry, and vegetable (FBV) intake on the risk of developing diabetes. Between 1984 and 1989, 2332 healthy men aged 42 to 60 years old were enrolled in the Kuopio (Finland) Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. Food diaries and periodic questionnaires were used to assess food intake. Periodically, fasting blood glucose and a two hour oral-glucose-tolerance test was performed. Men were followed for an average of 19 years. Men were divided into quartiles (fourths) based on FBV intake (juices excluded).
Men in the highest quartile of FBV intake had a 24 percent lower risk of developing diabetes over the study period compared to those in the lowest quartile. Those in the highest quartile of berry intake had an even lower risk of developing diabetes than those in the lowest quartile of berry intake (35 percent lower risk).