The ‘dietary strategy’ that could provide better control

Since 2006, diabetes has become more prevalent in the UK. At the moment, around five million people live with the condition and this is set to grow. The two most common examples of the condition are type 1 and type 2 diabetes, with the two accounting for 10 and 90 percent of the case numbers respectively. What both have in common is that diet plays a key role in the management of both. According to one study published in 2015, an everyday fruit could play a key role.

The study, conducted by North Dakota State University, was published in the Food Research International journal and aimed to analyse the impact of different fruits on blood glucose and, in particular, management of type 2 diabetes.

The results showed that pears played a key role in the management of the condition. The study in question analysed to types of pear known as Bartlett and Starkrimson pears in laboratory conditions.

Their tests provided insights into how the fruit in question plays a variety of roles and provides a number of benefits to the overall health of the body in how they helped manage diabetes and high blood pressure.

Research team member Kalidas Shetty said: “Our results from in vitro assays suggest that if we consume Bartlett and Starkrimson pears as a whole fruit (peel and pulp) it may potentially provide better control of early stage diabetes as part of an overall healthier diet.”

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Furthermore, study authors concluded in their article: “Such dietary strategy involving fruits, including pears, not only potentially could help better control blood glucose levels, but also reduce over dependence on drugs for prediabetes stages, or complement a reduced pharmacological dose of drugs with side effects to combat very early stages of type 2 diabetes.”

The conclusion was that pears could have a positive impact on managing blood glucose levels and thus type 2 diabetes overall.

Alongside diabetes, the pears were found to help manage blood pressure. The study authors wrote: “Our results suggested that Bartlett pulp could be utilized as a potential mild ACE inhibitor following further evaluation with different concentrations and extraction processes.”

While promising in regard to the benefits of pears, there are a couple of caveats to this study which need to be taken into account.

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Firstly, they only analysed the benefits of two types of pear rather than the entire gamut of the pear species. Secondly, the study was undertaken under laboratory conditions and not with actual patients.

However, the third caveat is also important, the fact that the study is close to 10 years old. During the intervening period, different research may have suggested otherwise.

What remains the same, however, is the presence and threat posed by diabetes; a condition which can cause a range of complications if left untreated or mismanaged. Eating a diet high in sugar and fat can dramatically worsen type 2 diabetes in particular.

However, some oral based health decisions can benefit the body greatly, such as drinking a popular hot drink commonly consumed in the UK.

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The drink in question is tea, currently, the nation’s favourite behind its caffeinated sibling, coffee. A recent study published in the journal Diabetologia found that drinking a large amount of tea every day could reduce someone’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

According to researchers, someone needs to drink at least four cups of tea a day to feel the benefits of this specific amount associated with a 17 percent reduced risk of the condition.

In comparison, those who drank just one to three cups of tea a day experienced a four percent reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes. What is remarkable is that both of these results were seen regardless of the type of tea the person drank.

Lead author Xiaying Li said: “Our results are exciting because they suggest that people can do something as simple as drinking four cups of tea a day to potentially lessen their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.”

While this research shows the significant positive impact of tea consumption, as with the other study, there are some limitations such as the reliance on subjective assessments and the potential impact of other factors outside of the tea.

Nevertheless the authors say that the overall benefit is positive and that there are some potential reasons why tea has this antidiabetic effect.

Li said: “While more research needs to be done to determine the exact dosage and mechanisms behind these observations, our findings suggest that drinking tea is beneficial in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, but only at high doses (at least 4 cups a day).

““It is possible that particular components in tea, such as polyphenols, may reduce blood glucose levels, but a sufficient amount of these bioactive compounds may be needed to be effective. It may also explain why we did not find an association between tea drinking and type 2 diabetes in our cohort study, because we did not look at higher tea consumption.”

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