Prevention of metabolic diseases: fruits (including fruit sugars) vs. vegetables

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Abstract

Purpose of review

To discuss recent evidence from observational and intervention studies on the relationship between fruit and vegetable (F&V) consumption and metabolic disease.

Recent findings

Observational studies have consistently demonstrated a modest inverse association between the intake of fruit and leafy green vegetables, but not total vegetables, and biomarkers of metabolic disease as well as incident type 2 diabetes mellitus. This is in contrast to limited evidence from recently published randomized controlled dietary intervention trials, which – in sum – suggests little to no impact of increased F&V consumption on biomarkers of metabolic disease.

Summary

Evidence from observational studies that fruit and leafy green vegetable intake is associated with lower type 2 diabetes risk and better metabolic health could not be confirmed by dietary intervention trials. It is unclear whether this discrepancy is because of limitations inherent in observational studies (e.g., subjective dietary assessment methods, residual confounding) or due to limitations in the few available intervention studies (e.g., short duration of follow-up, interventions combining whole fruit and fruit juice, or lack of compliance). Future studies that attempt to address these limitations are needed to provide more conclusive insight into the impact of F&V consumption on metabolic health.

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