RSSTropical or temperate? Type of fruit matters

Posted on Mon, 27 Mar 17

Tropical or temperate? Type of fruit matters

Temperate fruit could be healthier than tropical varieties because of differences in nutritional composition and glycaemic index, according to a new study examining links between types of fruit and diabetes risk. 

Associations between fruit consumption and diabetes risk are cloudy because of mixed results in existing studies. 

To see if differences in fruit types could help explain the matter a research group looked at consumption of total, temperate, and subtropical fruit and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in a large population-based observational study. 

Sure enough, total fruit was not consistently associated with lower T2DM risk while, in contrast, risk was modified by sex and types of fruit. “In men, higher consumption of tropical fruit or fruit with a higher glycaemic index (GI), such as bananas, was associated with higher T2DM risk,” they found. “In women, higher consumption of temperate fruit, such as apples, was significantly associated with lower T2DM risk." 

“Consumption of grapes was associated with lower risk of T2DM, and consumption of juice was associated with higher risk of T2DM, regardless of sex.”

These intriguing findings suggest that type of fruit and how we consume it has an important impact on the health benefits, or risks, of fruit consumption. Fruits richer in phytonutrients and with a lower GI, typical of temperate climate fruits, appear to be healthier than high GI fruits such as bananas or fruit juices, which may increase disease risk.  


Alperet DJ, Butler LM, Koh WP, et al. Influence of temperate, subtropical, and tropical fruit consumption on risk of type 2 diabetes in an Asian population. Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Feb 8. pii: ajcn147090.

Tags: Fruit, Type 2 Diabetes, Diabetes, Apples

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