Blueberry Ingestion and Favorable Changes in Metabolic Activity
By Chad Kerksick, PhD | Thursday, March 22, 2012 9:36:04 AM America/New_York
While many people can quickly identify a few areas in their diet where improvements can and should be made, a number of small factors when added together day after day can add up to have powerful effects. Turns out that a food source found in your local grocery store may work overtime to improve your body's ability to effectively handle the sugars and fat ingested each day from your diet. A recent study also found that regular ingestion may also help you to lose weight, lose fat and favorably improve several markers found inside muscle and fat tissue that control how your body metabolizes various sources of fuel. They are called a " super food" for a reason and this everyday food source I'm talking about is blueberries.
Blueberries are known to be a rich source of anthocyanins, and these nutrients can favorably impact the expression of key receptors that dictate the extent to which fat and muscle are metabolized by the body. Seymour and colleagues examined the extent to which blueberry ingestion impacted several common health markers measured in the blood as well as changes in body composition in laboratory animals that ingested either a high-fat or low-fat diet (Seymour 2011).
The rats selected for the study were obesity-prone like many people in our society. Half of the laboratory rats, again like millions of people in our society, consumed a diet which was 45% fat while the other half consumed a diet that was relatively low in fat (10%). All rats were fed freeze-dried blueberry powder or sugars in amounts equal to the sugar and calories provided by the blueberry ingestion to make sure the groups were comparable. The obese or fatty rats who consumed the high-fat diet experienced reductions in several common markers of general health including the amount of fat in someone's blood (triglyceride levels), glucose levels, insulin levels and predicted levels of insulin resistance.
Most impressively and in these obese rats, blueberry ingestion was also associated with reduced levels of abdominal fat mass and increased activity of key molecules that dictate fuel usage inside fat and muscle tissue in those rats consuming the high-fat diet. Interestingly when a low-fat diet was fed to the obese rats, blueberry intake also significantly reduced body weight and total fat mass. In summary, regular intake of blueberries may be an effective way to favorably impart changes in several health markers found in the blood while also significantly reducing body weight, but more importantly fat mass located in the abdominal region.
Seymour, E. M., Tanone, II, et al. "Blueberry intake alters skeletal muscle and adipose tissue peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor activity and reduces insulin resistance in obese rats." J Med Food (2011) 14(12): 1511-1518.