Health Corner: Fruit juice linked to modest rise in diabetes risk

Women wanting to ward off type 2 diabetes should load their plates with green leafy vegetables and whole fruits, but perhaps stay away from fruit juice, new research suggests.
Eating an additional three servings of whole fruit daily, or one more serving of spinach, kale or similar leafy green vegetable was tied to a lower risk of developing diabetes over an 18-year period among 71,346 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study.

“It was a modest decrease,” Dr. Lydia A. Bazzano of Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, told Reuters Health. “This is not going to…prevent it if you have many, many risk factors and you’re overweight…it’s a tool in the prevention strategy.”

Bazzano and colleagues analyzed data on the diets of Nurses’ Health Study participants — 4,529 of whom developed type 2 diabetes while they were being followed. They divided women into five groups based on fruit and vegetable intake, and also grouped them based on fruit juice consumption.

They found that an increase of three servings a day of whole fruit was associated with an 18 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes, while a single additional serving of leafy green vegetables cut the risk by 9 percent. However, an additional daily serving of fruit juice increased the likelihood of developing diabetes by 18 percent.

While the findings must be replicated, Bazzano said, there are plausible mechanisms by which fruit juice could increase risk. “It’s a big sugar load and it comes in a liquid form which is absorbed rapidly,” she noted.

The findings, the study team concludes, suggest that “caution should be observed in replacing some beverages with fruit juices in an effort to provide healthier options. The same caution applies to the recommendation that 100 percent fruit juice be considered a serving of fruit as it is in the present national dietary guidelines.”

Diabetes, weight tied to male infertility: Diabetes and being over- or underweight can have a negative effect on male fertility.

That’s the conclusion of two reports to be presented July 9 at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction & Embryology, in Barcelona, Spain.

While semen samples from diabetics look normal under the microscope, a closer examination revealed DNA damage, Dr Con Mallidis, of Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, said in a news release issued by the conference sponsors.

“Sperm RNA was significantly altered, and many of the changes we observed are in RNA transcripts involved in DNA repair,” he said. “And comparison with a database of men of proven fertility confirmed our findings. Diabetics have a significant decrease in their ability to repair sperm DNA, and once this is damaged, it cannot be restored.”

Sperm DNA quality is known to be tied to decreased embryo quality, low embryo implantation rates, higher miscarriage rates and some serious childhood diseases, including cancers.

“We found a class of compounds known as advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in the male reproductive tract. These are formed as the result of glycation (the addition of sugar),” Mallidis said, “and accumulate during normal aging. They are dependent on lifestyle, diet, smoking, etc., and in many diabetic complications are centrally implicated in DNA damage. We believe that they play a similar role in the male reproductive system.”

The researchers plan to now determine how AGEs cause and contribute to DNA damage.

Obesity, which often plays a factor in diabetes, and being too thin, was also found to cause problems with sperm. In a separate study, scientists found that men with a higher body mass index (BMI, a ratio of weight to height) had less seminal fluid and more abnormal sperm.

The findings showed that men with an optimal BMI of 20 to 25 had higher levels of normal sperm than those who were either overweight or underweight. They also had higher semen volume.The researchers did not look at DNA damage in the sperm, though.

“Our findings were quite independent of any other factors,” scheduled presenter A. Ghiyath Shayeb, from the University of Aberdeen, in Scotland, said in the news release from the conference, “and seem to suggest that men who are trying for a baby with their partners should first try to achieve an ideal body weight.”

“Adopting a healthy lifestyle, a balanced diet, and regular exercise will, in the vast majority of cases, lead to a normal BMI,” he said. “We are pleased to be able to add improved semen quality to the long list of benefits that we know are the result of an optimal body weight.”The News

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