meals

Fruits and Vegetables

Gretchen Becker Health Guide August 26, 2010
  • For years, nutritionists have been telling us all that we should eat more fruits and vegetables.

     

    We patients with diabetes, or at least many of us, have been saying that fruits make our blood glucose levels go up and we need to limit them. Of course, no one listened to us.

     

    Now there's a study that supports what we've been saying for some time.

     

    Researchers showed that eating more green, leafy vegetables significantly reduced the risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 14%. However, eating more fruit, vegetables, or fruit and vegetables combined, did not affect the risk.

     

    Now, this was a meta-analysis, and such analyses cannot always be trusted. It was also a small analysis of only six studies, and the results need to be confirmed before we can trust them.

     

    Nevertheless, it's suggestive, and I hope more researchers will study the relative benefits of fruits, starchy vegetables like potatoes, and other vegetables with less starch but more nutrients and fibers. Unfortunately, the meta-analysis did not describe what was included in the "vegetables" category but I suspect it included a lot of starchy vegetables.

     

    Of course, despite the results of the study, the mainstream editorialists continue to say that we need to eat more fruits and vegetables.

     

    I suspect this may be similar to the recommendations to reduce fat intake after the infamous Ancel Keys studies in the 1950s. The government nutrition experts knew quite well that it was not total fat but saturated fat that Keys had associated with heart disease (and even that association is questionable). However, they figured the general public would not be able to distinguish between different types of fat, so if they cut back on all fat they'd also cut back on saturated fat.

     

    So too, the nutritionists may now feel the general public isn't able to understand that eating more colorful berries is healthy but downing tons of orange juice, bananas, and canned fruit in heavy syrup is not, or that eating more spinach and broccoli is healthy but eating more potatoes (which many people would consume as french fries) and canned peas is not. So just tell them to eat more fruits and veggies.

     

    At least there's finally a suggestion that perhaps people should focus on certain healthy vegetables and that "eat more fruits and vegetables" is not going to solve the American obesity problem.