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Study Suggests Anthocyanins In Strawberries Improve Insulin Resistance

Illinois Institute of Technology, March 1, 2022


WATSONVILLE, Calif. — According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), diabetes causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Food plays an important role in the life of a diabetic and the ADA identifies berries, including strawberries, as one of the top ten superfoods for a diabetes meal plan because they are low in sugar, packed with vitamins, antioxidants and dietary fiber.

A new study* published in the February 2016 issue of Molecular Nutrition & Food Nutrition found that anthocyanin-rich strawberries may improve insulin sensitivity. Insulin resistance (IR) is a hallmark of metabolic syndrome and a risk factor for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Typically, after a meal, the pancreas produces an appropriate amount of insulin to usher glucose from the bloodstream into the cells. People with IR have built up a tolerance to insulin, so the pancreas must churn out extra insulin to coax blood sugar into the cells. Over time, this process can lead to type 2 diabetes.

Researchers observed the effect of anthocyanins on the postprandial insulin response of 21 obese adults with insulin resistance. Subjects were served a typical 'Western-style' meal high in carbohydrates and fat plus a beverage that contained freeze-dried whole strawberry powder. The beverages were controlled for fiber, and the amount of strawberry powder ranged from 0 grams to 40 grams (equivalent to 3 cups of fresh strawberries). When subjects drank the most concentrated beverage, they didn't produce as much insulin as when they drank the least concentrated versions. In other words, they didn't need as much insulin to metabolize their meal after drinking the anthocyanin-rich strawberry shake.

While the exact mechanisms are unclear, strawberry anthocyanins may alter insulin signaling at a cellular level.

"These results add to the collective evidence that consuming strawberries may help improve insulin action," says study author Britt Burton-Freeman, Ph.D., MS, Director, Center for Nutrition Research, Institute for Food Safety and Health (IFSH) at Illinois Institute of Technology.

Naturally low in sugar (just 7 grams), strawberries provide a unique combination of essential nutrients, dietary fiber and phytochemicals. One serving of eight medium strawberries is just 45 calories and provides more vitamin C per serving than orange and 140% of the daily value. Additionally, strawberries are a good source of fiber (3 grams), folate and potassium, along with a variety of health-promoting phytochemicals. Clinical research suggests that eating a serving of eight medium strawberries a day may improve heart health, help manage diabetes, support brain health, and reduce the risk of some cancers.

For more information on California strawberries, as well as creative and inspiring recipes, please visit http://www.californiastrawberries.com and http://www.heartoffarmers.com/.

For the latest nutrition news on strawberries, visit: http://www.strawberrynutritionnews.com/

*Eunyoung Park, et al. A dose-response evaluation of freeze-dried strawberries independent of fiber content on metabolic indices in abdominally obese individuals with insulin-resistance in a randomized, single-blinded, diet-controlled crossover trial. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, February 2016. Link to abstract: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mnfr.201500845/abstract

About California Strawberry Commission The California Strawberry Commission is a state government agency located in Northern California charged with conducting research to support California's strawberry industry. With an emphasis on sustainable farming practices, the commission works with strategic partners focusing on production and nutrition research, food safety training and education, marketing and communications, trade relations and public policy.

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Source: California Strawberry Commission