August 12 2015

Fruit, Diabetes, Nutrition

Here’s a limiting and false belief I’d like to see discarded:  fruit as a cause of diabetes. So I almost danced a jig when I saw this article.  The study, whose authors include the esteemed Professor Walter Willett, M.D., Dr. P.H. (the Principle Investigator in the Nurses’ Health Study), was published in the British Medical Journal in August 2013.

And here are my take-home points from the study:

  • The study’s goal was to determine the relationship between eating fruits and developing type 2 diabetes and the researchers followed more than 180,000 for several years to answer this question.
  • The study showed that AFTER adjusting the statistics for issues like lifestyle and other personal factors, each individual fruit consumed was inversely associated with the risk of type 2 diabetes. In other words, the more fruit eaten, the LESS chance one had of developing diabetes. 
  • Bananas, which I have found many patients fear eating because of the false belief that it can lead to diabetes, were associated with a DECREASED risk for developing type 2 diabetes. 
  • Eating blueberries, grapes, and grapefruit were also significantly associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. 
  • The study noted that fruit juice consumption was associated with an INCREASED risk of type 2 diabetes. However, it should be noted that there was no specification whether the juice was pasteurized or in it’s fresh, unheated state.
  • Bottom line: Don’t fear WHOLE unprocessed fruit!  Besides the fact they are delicious and full of vitamins, they do NOT cause diabetes and in fact, are associated with a DECREASED risk for this disease.

Some personal thoughts on the study:

There is a huge fear of sugar and If I had a dime for every time someone says to me in clinic “Oh I can’t have fruit, I’m diabetic….” well you know how that saying goes.

That fear, as this study shows, and as my professional experience has confirmed, is unfounded. Fruit in its natural state, is water and anti-oxidant rich and full of fiber which actually HELPS with blood sugar regulation. I can tell you that those I work with who struggle with blood sugar issues aren’t eating lots of fruit. Instead, they are taking in lots of soda, bread, crackers, chips, pastries, and pasteurized fruit juice (I would love a study in which they showed differences in blood sugar regulation between pasteurized fruit juice and fresh, “raw,” unheated fruit juice). In other words, lots of processed foods. And I repeatedly see improvement of their blood sugars with less consumption of processed, packaged “food” and more fresh fruits and vegetables. Every time.

I hope this article is helpful to you and those you love who may be struggling with blood sugar levels and that it helps to lay to rest anxieties about eating fruit. All sugar is definitely not created equally. Just choose the bowl of raspberries over a coca-cola.

Check your risk of Type 2 diabetes


Dance Video:

I believe that knowledge is empowering and healing, and so is art.

The study shared today was about shedding limiting beliefs. This dance piece similarly is about shedding our limiting beliefs and fears, and is called Shed The Head.  Please enjoy.

Choreography: Tumi Johnson
Dancer: Tumi Johnson
Music: Peter Barr ("Pan and Guitar")
Poem- "Shed the head" by Tumi Johnson

This was developed and filmed November-December 2011 in Dordogne, France through the Salignac Foundation. Special thanks to Fiona Alderman and Barry Patton for production. 

Please visit my website at

You can also buy/listen to Peter Barr's wonderful song "Pan and Guitar" here:

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