In Britain, almost 90% of people who have diabetes are diagnosed with type 2 - where the body produces some but not sufficient insulin.
A new, large study has revealed that you may want to stock up on fruit - specifically blueberries, grapes, apples and pears as eating the fruit can cut the risk of type 2 diabetes.
However don't take a short cut but drinking fruit juice as that can increase the risk, according to researchers.
Experts including a team from Harvard School of Public Health in the US examined whether certain fruits impact on type 2 which affects more than three million Britons.
People who ate three standard servings a week of blueberries had a 26% lower chance of developing the disease, they found.
Those eating grapes and raisins had a 12% reduced risk and apples and pears cut the chances by 7%. Prunes also had a protective effect, giving an 11% drop in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Other fruits such as bananas, plums, peaches and apricots had a negligible impact but drinking fruit juice increased the risk by 8%, according to the study.
In fact, people who replaced all fruit juice with eating whole fruits could expect a 7% drop in their risk of developing type 2.
For individual fruits, replacing three servings a week of fruit juice with blueberries cut the risk by 33% while replacing juice with grapes and raisins cut the risk by 19%.
The risk was also 14% lower if juice was replaced with apples and pears, 13% lower if replaced with bananas and 12% lower if replaced with grapefruit.
WHAT IS INSULIN?
Insulin is produced by the pancreas (a gland behind the stomach). When food is digested and enters your bloodstream, insulin moves glucose out of the blood and into cells, where it is broken down to produce energy.
However, if you have diabetes, your body is unable to break down glucose into energy. This is because there is either not enough insulin to move the glucose, or the insulin produced does not work properly.
The research, published in the British Medical Journal, includes data on 187,382 people taken from three separate studies, of whom 12,198 developed type 2 diabetes.
Food questionnaires were used every four years to assess diet and they asked how often, on average, people consumed each food in a standard portion size.
The relatively high glycaemic load of fruit juice along with "reduced levels of beneficial nutrients through juicing processes" may explain why juice increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, the authors suggest.
"Fluids pass through the stomach to the intestine more rapidly than solids even if nutritional content is similar. For example, fruit juices lead to more rapid and larger changes in serum levels of glucose and insulin than whole fruits," they said.
More research is needed, they added, but concluded: "Greater consumption of specific whole fruits, particularly blueberries, grapes and apples, is significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, whereas greater consumption of fruit juice is associated with a higher risk."
Around 2.7 million people in the UK are diagnosed with type 2 and a further 850,000 are thought to have it but do not know it. Another seven million people are estimated to be at high risk of developing the disease which is linked to obesity and inactive lifestyle.
Complications of type 2 include limb amputation, blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and stroke.
Dr Matthew Hobbs, head of research for Diabetes UK, said: "The best way to reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes is to eat a balanced, healthy diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables and to be as physically active as possible.
"This research provides further evidence that eating plenty of whole fruit is a key part of the balanced diet that will help you to achieve a healthy weight and so minimise your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
"However, the associations between Type 2 diabetes and specific types or fruit or fruit drinks must be treated with much more caution.
"Some of the findings are based on a number of assumptions and models which may have distorted the results significantly.
"For example, the researchers used surveys to ask participants how often they ate certain foods.
"This type of survey can often be unreliable as people are more likely to remember certain types of food.
"In fact, the researchers tried to adjust for this by asking a small subset of participants to complete daily food diaries and comparing the results to the surveys.
"For a number of fruits, including blueberries, the numbers were not big enough to allow the researchers to correct their findings in this way."
Related on HuffPost:
Despite cheese's less-than-healthy reputation, a recent study in the <a href="http://www.ajcn.org/content/96/2/382.abstract" target="_hplink"><em>American Journal of Clinical Nutrition</em></a> showed that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/27/cheese-diabetes-type-2-risk-link-_n_1699374.html?utm_hp_ref=healthy-living" target="_hplink">cheese-eaters</a> actually have a 12 percent <em>lower</em> risk of the disease than their non cheese-eating counterparts. Plus, people who ate more cheese, fermented milk and yogurt in the study were also more likely to have a decreased diabetes risk than people who ate less of these foods, noted the researchers, who came from Oxford University and Imperial College London. The people who ate the most cheese in the study consumed more than 56 grams of it per day, while those who <a href="http://www.nhs.uk/news/2012/07July/Pages/Can-a-diet-of-cheese-beat-diabetes.aspx" target="_hplink">ate the least cheese</a> in the study had fewer than 11 grams a day, the UK's NHS Choices reported.
Researchers from the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center found that people who <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/15/-nuts-diabetes-heart-disease_n_1423911.html" target="_hplink">regularly eat tree nuts</a> (we're talking pistachios, walnuts, almonds and cashews) have a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, as well as heart disease and metabolic syndrome. Those researchers found that nut consumption is linked with lower levels of an inflammation marker called C-reactive protein (which is associated with heart disease and other chronic conditions) and higher levels of the "good" kind of cholesterol. In addition, people who regularly ate the tree nuts had lower body mass indexes (BMI, a ratio of height to weight) than people who didn't regularly eat nuts, the <em>Journal of the American College of Nutrition</em> study said.
Take A Walk
Taking a few moments <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/walking-diabetes-risk-steps_n_1637808.html" target="_hplink">for a walk each day</a> is enough to lower the risk of diabetes in high-risk people who don't regularly exercise, according to research in the journal <em>Diabetes Care</em>. University of Washington and University of Pittsburgh researchers found that people who walked the most in their study -- which included 1,826 people from Native American communities -- had a 29 percent lower risk of diabetes, compared with those who walked the least. But you didn't have to be a star walker in the study to reap the benefits -- the researchers found that 12 percent of people who took just 3,500 steps per day (there are about 2,000 steps in a mile) developed diabetes at the end of the study period, compared with 17 percent of people who <a href="http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/06/28/health-diabetes-idINL3E8HS5BR20120628" target="_hplink">walked the least</a> in the study, Reuters reported.
Nosh On Apples And Blueberries
Apple, pear and blueberry eaters have lower risks of Type 2 diabetes, according to a study in the <em>American Journal of Clinical Nutrition</em>. The study was based on the diets of 200,000 people. HuffPost Canada reported that anthocyanins and fruits rich in anthocyanins were linked with <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/03/19/apples-and-blueberries-diabetes_n_1362405.html" target="_hplink">lower diabetes risk</a>; flavanoids, however, were not.
Get Your Rest
A <a href="http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/early/2011/09/19/dc11-1093.abstract" target="_hplink"><em>Diabetes Care</em> study</a> from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia researchers showed that for obese teens, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/20/sleep-diabetes-obese-teens_n_972505.html" target="_hplink">getting enough shut-eye</a> is linked with a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Researchers conducted the study on 62 obese teens. They found that sleeping between seven-and-a-half and eight-and-a-half hours a night was linked with stable glucose levels. But sleeping more or less than that was <a href="http://www.ottawasun.com/2011/09/20/lack-of-sleep-in-obese-teens-can-lead-to-diabetes-study" target="_hplink">linked with higher glucose levels</a>, the <em>Ottawa Sun</em> reported.
Eat Your Greens
Eating a <a href="http://www.medicaldaily.com/news/20120427/9693/diabetes-type-2-fruit-vegetables-diet.htm" target="_hplink">range of fruits and veggies</a> could help to lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes, Medical Daily reported. The study, published in the <a href="http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/early/2012/03/30/dc11-2388" target="_hplink">journal <em>Diabetes Care</em></a>, included 3,704 people. Researchers analyzed how many fruits and vegetables, as well as the variety of fruits and vegetables, they ate, along with their Type 2 diabetes status. They found that those who ate the most <em>kinds</em> of produce -- as well as just the most produce in general -- had the lowest diabetes risk, Medical Daily reported.
Moderate Alcohol Consumption (For Some)
Drinking alcohol at a moderate level is linked with a <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/24/us-health-carbs-idUSTRE7AN1TW20111124" target="_hplink">lower risk of Type 2 diabetes</a> for some people, according to <a href="http://www.ajcn.org/content/early/2011/11/01/ajcn.111.023754" target="_hplink">an <em>American Journal of Clinical Nutrition</em> study</a>. Harvard researchers found that for women with refined carb-heavy diets, moderate alcohol consumption is linked with a decreased diabetes risk of 30 percent, compared with non-imbibing women who eat similar diets, Reuters reported. "If you eat a high carb diet without drinking alcohol, your risk of developing diabetes is increased by 30 percent," study researcher Frank Hu <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/24/us-health-carbs-idUSTRE7AN1TW20111124" target="_hplink">told Reuters</a>. "However, if you eat a high carb diet, but (drink) a moderate amount of alcohol, the increased risk is reduced."
Chinese researchers found earlier this year that coffee may stop a protein <a href="http://diabetes.webmd.com/news/20120113/why-coffee-may-reduce-diabetes-risk?page=2" target="_hplink">linked with Type 2 diabetes</a> from building up, thereby possibly lowering the risk of the disease, WebMD reported. The research, published in the <em>Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry</em>, suggests that three particular compounds found in coffee are able to <a href="http://diabetes.webmd.com/news/20120113/why-coffee-may-reduce-diabetes-risk?page=2" target="_hplink">have this beneficial effect</a>: caffeine, chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid, according to WebMD.
Diabetes Risk Factors
Learn how to live healthy with diabetes - What risk factors are there for diabetes?