Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables can help decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a new Institute of Metabolic Science study. The study followed more than 3,700 adults for 11 years and found that those who ate the most fruits and vegetables each week had a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who ate the fewest. Those who ate the most fruits and vegetables typically ate six servings each day and had a 21 percent lower risk of developing diabetes. Those who ate the least, typically ate only two servings a day, which matches the average American diet, according to U.S. studies. In addition, participants who ate a wider variety of fruits and vegetables, regardless of how much they ate, had a lower risk of diabetes. Those who ate 16 different types of fruits and vegetables over the course of a week had a 40 percent lower risk of developing diabetes than people who ate eight or fewer different fruits and vegetables in a week. "The finding on variety of intake is new and exciting," says senior researcher Nita G. Forouhishe. She says "it demonstrates that independent of the quantity consumed, we have the potential to gain additional and important benefits from choosing a mixture of different fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced diet." Forouhishe notes that eating a variety of fruits and vegetables helps ensure intake of important vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals that help protect cells from damage that leads to chronic disease. Eating a range of different colored fruits and vegetables each day ensures getting a good variety. One serving is a medium-sized piece of fruit or a half-cup of cooked vegetables.