Objective: To investigate whether self-reported frequency of fruit and vegetable consumption was associated with HbA(1C) 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.) HbA(1C) 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.