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Sept 2010 Dark greens help prevent diabetes-2

 Update Oct 8th 2010:
- Research just published: Multiple very strong cancer - diabetes connections.
- Plus an added AICR advise “This clear link between type 2 diabetes and cancer risk makes the message of lifestyle change for patients and health professionals much more important”:



Unfortunately, diabetes and cancer have tendency to coincide in individuals, because of shared lifestyle causes. And recent growth in diabetes-2 incidence will likely raise cancer incidence too. The prevalence of diabetes is currently estimated to be about 6.4% worldwide. It is about 10% in the West, and rapidly growing [1]. In treating diabetes, dietary factors are prevailing, besides exercise, stress and weight. While a lot of attention has been given on a role of carbohydrates and fiber [2, 3], the relation between other fruits and vegetables elements and frequency of diabetes is not fully understood. In relation to this, an objective of a recent study was to investigate the effect of fruits and vegetables intake on incidence of type 2 diabetes. Based on a systematic review and meta-analysis of published data, the researchers of the study were able to conclude that an increase of green leafy vegetables per day (120g instead of recommended 80g per serving) is associated with a 14% decrease in incidence [4]. It is possible that a combination of antioxidants and phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables combat free radicals and reduce inflammation, which are a concern in diabetes-prone populations. 

Main text:

A group of authors from Leicester University, UK, have analyzed data from six studies examining links between fruit and vegetable consumption and type 2 diabetes. The researchers conducted a meta-analysis of existing published studies which had similar objectives, design, and methods. They pooled the results and re-analyzed them as if they had come from one big study. Based on comprehensive results analysis authors suggest that increased daily intake of green leafy vegetables such as spinach, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli could lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. By greater intake, the authors estimated this to be about 120g per serving a day. The researchers concluded that their findings support the link between the lifestyle and prevention of type 2 diabetes. Consequently they recommended the consumption of green leafy vegetables as a way to reduce the risk of developing the disease. This should be embedded in an overall advice to include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. The study researchers noted that ‘foods’ and not the isolated food components provide strong evidence in preventing the disease.


By: Svetlana Obradovic and Luuk Simons




[1] Shaw, J. E., R. A. Sicree, P. Z. Zimmet (2010). Global estimates of the prevalence of diabetes for 2010 and 2030. Diabetes Res Clin Pract 87 pp. 4-14.


[2] Steyn, N. P., J. Mann, P. H. Bennett, N. Temple, P. Zimmet, et al. (2004). Diet, nutrition and the prevention of type 2 diabetes. Public Health Nutr 7 pp. 147-65.



[3] Schulze, M. B., F. B. Hu (2005). Primary prevention of diabetes: what can be done and how much can be prevented? Annu Rev Public Health 26 pp. 445-67.



[4] Carter, P., L. J. Gray, J. Troughton, et. al. (2010). Fruit and vegetable intake and incidence of type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ 2010; 341:c4229



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