HealthDay News — Eating a greater quantity of vegetables and a greater variety of fruits and vegetables correlates with a reduced risk for type 2 diabetes, study data indicate.

Patients who ate the most fruits and vegetables combined had a 21% lower risk for type 2 diabetes compared with those who ate the least (hazard ratio=0.79; 95% CI: 0.62–1.00), Andrew J. Cooper, MPhil, of the Institute of Metabolic Science at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, U.K., and colleagues reported in Diabetes Care.

They investigated the 11-year incidence of type 2 diabetes in correlation with fruit and vegetable intake in 3,704 participants, 653 of whom had diabetes, nested within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition-Norfolk study. The researchers determined the variety of fruit and vegetable items consumed based on total number of different food items consumed recorded in a seven-day prospective food diary.

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In adjusted analyses, the quantity of vegetable intake, but not fruit intake, was inversely associated with type 2 diabetes (HR=0.76). Greater variety in fruit, vegetable and combined fruit and vegetable intake correlated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes (HRs= 0.70, 0.77 and 0.61, respectively), when comparing extreme tertiles.

“These findings suggest that a diet characterized by a greater quantity of vegetables and a greater variety of both fruit and vegetable intake is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes,” the researchers concluded.

Cooper AJ et al. Diabetes Care. 2012;doi:10.2337/dc11-2388.