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Fruit and vegetable intake and population glycosylated haemoglobin levels: the EPIC-Norfolk Study


Objective: To investigate whether self-reported frequency of fruit and vegetable consumption was associated with HbA1C levels in individuals not known to have diabetes, and what dietary and lifestyle factors might explain this association.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: The EPIC-Norfolk Study, a population-based cohort study of diet and chronic disease.

Subjects and methods: A total of 2678 men and 3318 women (45–74 y) not known to have diabetes reported weekly consumption of fruit, green leafy vegetables and other vegetables.

Results: Among men, 274 (10.2%) reported seldom or never eating fruit and 127 (4.7%) seldom or never eating green leafy vegetables. Corresponding numbers in women were 157 (4.7%) and 92 (2.8%), respectively. Participants who reported never or seldom having both fruit and green leafy vegetables had higher mean (s.d.) HbA1C measurements (5.43% (0.71)) than those who reported more frequent consumption (5.34% (0.67); P=0.046). Differences by category of fruit or green leafy vegetable consumption were not substantially changed after adjustment for saturated fat, dietary fibre and plasma vitamin C.

Conclusion: These findings support the hypothesis that high intake of fruit and green leafy vegetables may influence glucose metabolism independent of dietary fibre or vitamin C alone and that increased consumption may contribute to the prevention of diabetes.

Sponsorship: NJW is an MRC Clinician Scientist Fellow.

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2001) 55, 342–348

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Guarantors: N Wareham and K-T Khaw.

Contributors: LAS, N Wareham and K-TK contributed to the study concept, analysis and interpretation of the data and the drafting of the manuscript. SB, NED, NJW and K-TK are principal investigators of EPIC-Norfolk. RNL, SO and AW contributed to the study design and data collection and management. All authors contributed to the revision and drafting of the final version.

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Correspondence to NJ Wareham.

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Sargeant, L., Khaw, K., Bingham, S. et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and population glycosylated haemoglobin levels: the EPIC-Norfolk Study. Eur J Clin Nutr 55, 342–348 (2001).

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  • fruit
  • vegetables
  • glycosylated haemoglobin
  • diabetes mellitus
  • epidemiology

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