Background/objectives: There is limited information to support definitive recommendations concerning the role of diet in the development of type 2 Diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The results of the latest meta-analyses suggest that an increased consumption of green leafy vegetables may reduce the incidence of diabetes, with either no association or weak associations demonstrated for total fruit and vegetable intake. Few studies have, however, focused on older subjects.
Subjects/methods: The relationship between T2DM and fruit and vegetable intake was investigated using data from the NIH-AARP study and the EPIC Elderly study. All participants below the age of 50 and/or with a history of cancer, diabetes or coronary heart disease were excluded from the analysis. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to calculate the odds ratio of T2DM comparing the highest with the lowest estimated portions of fruit, vegetable, green leafy vegetables and cabbage intake.
Results: Comparing people with the highest and lowest estimated portions of fruit, vegetable or green leafy vegetable intake indicated no association with the risk of T2DM. However, although the pooled OR across all studies showed no effect overall, there was significant heterogeneity across cohorts and independent results from the NIH-AARP study showed that fruit and green leafy vegetable intake was associated with a reduced risk of T2DM OR 0.95 (95% CI 0.91,0.99) and OR 0.87 (95% CI 0.87,0.90) respectively.
Conclusions: Fruit and vegetable intake was not shown to be related to incident T2DM in older subjects. Summary analysis also found no associations between green leafy vegetable and cabbage intake and the onset of T2DM. Future dietary pattern studies may shed light on the origin of the heterogeneity across populations.