Rx Nutrition Resource Center

Rx Nutrition Resource Center

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
August 28, 2020
1 min read

Lower diabetes, obesity risks seen with diet rich in vegetables, fruits

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
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Adults in China who consumed the most vegetables and fruits had reduced risks for insulin resistance, diabetes and central obesity, whereas those who ate the most sweets and fast food had increased risks for these outcomes.

In a cross-sectional study, published in Nutrition and Diabetes, researchers administered a food frequency questionnaire to 1,432 residents of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, aged 40 to 65 years (857 women). Participants reported intake of 81 food items during the previous 4 weeks. Participants also underwent an oral glucose tolerance test and whole body imaging. Body measurements were recorded.

Plant-based diet
Source: Adobe Stock

The researchers derived four major dietary patterns from the questionnaire data: vegetables-fruits (high consumption of vegetables, beans, mushrooms, fruits and nuts); rice-meat (high consumption of red meat, white rice, poultry, eggs, beans); seafood-eggs (high consumption of eggs, seafood, dairy, nuts, fruits); and sweet-fast food (high consumption of fast foods, alcoholic beverages, desserts).

The vegetables-fruits dietary pattern was negatively associated with insulin resistance determined by homeostasis model of insulin resistance (P < 0.001 in men and women), whereas the sweet-fast food dietary pattern was significantly associated with greater insulin resistance (P = .002 for men; P < .001 for women).

Participants who followed a vegetables-fruits diet had significantly lower risk for diabetes (men: OR = 0.30; 95% CI, 0.13-0.70; women: OR = 0.28; 95% CI, 0.11-0.72); risk for central obesity was lower with this dietary pattern only among men (OR=0.50; 95% CI, 0.29-0.86).

Risks for diabetes (OR = 2.58; 95% CI, 1.23-5.88) and central obesity (OR = 2.85; 95% CI, 1.67-4.86) were increased for men who consumed the most sweets and fast food.

The researchers saw no association with the rice-meat or seafood-eggs dietary patterns for insulin resistance, visceral fat area, diabetes or central obesity.

No associations with diabetes or obesity were observed for the rice-meat or seafood-eggs dietary patterns.

“The effect of food patterns might be greater in males than in females for [diabetes] and central obesity. Difference between the genders in the physiological response to different food patterns is uncertain, one plausible explanation is the different anatomy and physiology between males and females,” the researchers wrote.