Research: Healthy Eating Tied to Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Insulin Resistance


Two studies released in 2020 found that modest improvement in insulin resistance with increased fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.

We have long known that healthy eating will lower your risk of Diabetes type 2. It would make sense that a healthier diet higher in fiber and lower in empty carbohydrates would lower the insulin spikes and thus would lower risk obesity and diabetes. The problem is that there is limited research to back the concept that healthy eating alone.

The good news is that two new studies appear to show promise through healthy eating. The studies followed patients and their risk of diabetes through long-term follow-up separate prospective cohort studies. Both show promise for decreasing insulin resistance and Diabetes type 2.

The first study looked to investigate the association of plasma vitamin C and carotenoids, as indicators of fruit and vegetable intake, with the risk of type 2 diabetes in a group of over 300K subjects from eight European countries that were enrolled in the EPIC study​[1]​. The prospective study looked at food intake and specifically at vitamin C intake and the risk for Diabetes type 2. The researchers found an absolute risk reduction of 0.95 per 1000 person-years. This finding means the participant’s risk of Diabetes type 2 went down as their intake of Vitamin C when up.

The second study looked at the associations between the intake of total and individual whole grain foods and the risk of type 2 diabetes​[2]​. The research looked at data from prospective studies to include the Nurses’ Health Study, Nurses’ Health Study II, and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. The subjects were over 190K men and women who did not have type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer at baseline. The subjects looked at total whole grain consumption versus diabetes risk and found an association between higher total whole grain intake and lower risk of type 2 diabetes. The findings were stronger in individuals who were lean than in those who were overweight or obese.

Obesity and diabetes type 2 are directly tied to insulin resistance. It makes sense that this research should push to include a reduced risk of obesity also, but more research is needed. Scientifically, the link between a diet high in vitamin C and fiber should lower the risk of obesity and insulion restance.

The bottom line: Higher consumption of total whole grains and fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamin C reduces the risk of diabetes type 2. I recommend a diet that includes high levels of whole grains and rich in fruits and vegetables. could help to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. This increased intake will reduce the risk of diabetes, insulin resistance, and obesity. More research is needed to look specifically at insulin resistance and weight.

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  1. [1]
    J.-S. Zheng et al., “Association of plasma biomarkers of fruit and vegetable intake with incident type 2 diabetes: EPIC-InterAct case-cohort study in eight European countries,” BMJ, p. m2194, Jul. 2020, doi: 10.1136/bmj.m2194. [Online]. Available:
  2. [2]
    Y. Hu et al., “Intake of whole grain foods and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective cohort studies,” BMJ, p. m2206, Jul. 2020, doi: 10.1136/bmj.m2206. [Online]. Available:
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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