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Can vegetables prevent diabetes?

Type-2 diabetes is becoming or will become a real plague… With our increasing life expectancy and increasing body weight as we get older the tendency towards developing late onset problems in regulating our blood sugar metabolism appears to be an inevitable consequence.

However, those in the nutritional world have always advocated a diet rich in fruit and vegetables and low in refined (table sugar, white flour etc…) carbohydrates as a way to ward off this problem. The sad thing is, this type of advice is so run of the mill these days that the true impact of such a simple change often goes without a second thought; everyone knows that we should eat plenty of fruit and veg… so, whats new there?

Well… the latest research can now pot some numbers and ‘science’ behind these claims. In the August issue of the British Medical Journal a feature supporting the role of vegetables in diabetes prevention has hit the media. In a collaboration between the University of Otago in New Zealand and Imperial College in London the findings boost the status of lowly dietary greens. The BMJ’s editorial entitled can specific fruits and vegetables prevent diabetes? clearly points out that; “…an additional one and a half UK portions (roughly 120 g) daily of green leafy vegetables (for example, cabbage, brussel sprouts,broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach) has the potential to reduce the risk of diabetes by 14% independently of any effect of weight loss.” such a dietary change is not difficult to instigate and is good news for all those with a family history or those feeling overwhelmed by the more intensive dietary suggestions commonly promoted for diabetes prevention.

The study does underpin the need for good nutrition. Our modern diets are full and overloaded with excessive calories whilst being low in key nutrients that include trace minerals and antioxidants. Again, this is not a new concept but it appears that before such basic advice is taken seriously someone has to do the science to prove the point and then it hits the headlines (see the BBC news post), almost as some kind of new medical revelation!

For those interested, a full article on the subject of diet and type-2 diabetes prevention entitled Fruit and vegetable intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus: systematic review and meta-analysis can be downloaded by clicking here.

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