Blueberries Inhibit Fat Cell Formation

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April 12, 2011

Blueberries inhibit fat cell formation

Blueberries inhibit fat cell formation

Blueberries may confer an inhibitory effect on the development of adipocytes (fat cells) according to research presented at the Experimental Biology 2011 meeting in Washington, DC on April, 2011.

Texas Woman's University graduate student Shiwani Moghe, MS reported the results of an experiment in which three doses of blueberry polyphenols were administered to preadipocyte tissue cultures derived from mice. The tissue cultures were analyzed for polyphenols' effect on adipocyte differentiation, which is the process by which unspecialized cells acquire the features of adipocytes that synthesize and store fat.

"I wanted to see if using blueberry polyphenols could inhibit obesity at a molecular stage," Moghe explained.

Moghe found a dose-dependent effect of blueberry polyphenols on adipocyte differentiation. Compared to control cultures that did not receive polyphenols, those that received the low, middle and high dose showed a 27, 63 and 74 percent reduction in lipid content, without any significant difference in lipid breakdown observed.

"We still need to test this dose in humans, to make sure there are no adverse effects, and to see if the doses are as effective," she noted. "This is a burgeoning area of research. Determining the best dose for humans will be important. The promise is there for blueberries to help reduce adipose tissue from forming in the body."

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Health Concern


There may be more myths and misunderstandings about obesity than about any other major health epidemic. Americans are constantly besieged with faulty or incomplete weight-loss information—some of it from mainstream sources. To lose weight, we are advised to avoid entire food categories (such as carbohydrates or fats) or to eat only one food category (proteins, for instance). And every new fad diet is accompanied by an avalanche of new products and marketing hype as companies try to cash in on Americans' desperate desire to slim down. The result is a stream of conflicting information that leaves many people confused.

When it comes to weight loss, fiber has not received the attention it deserves. The recent focus on carbohydrates has led some people to reduce their intake of whole fruits and some vegetables because these foods contain carbohydrates. By doing this, those dieters deprive themselves of the many benefits of a naturally fiber-rich food source. According to the American Heart Association (AHA) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Americans should consume about 30 g or more of fiber every day. The actual average consumption, however, is between 12 and 17 g (AHA 2005; NCI 2005).

Consumed before a meal, soluble fiber has multiple benefits. First, it is filling and causes people to eat less because they are satiated sooner. Anecdotally, LE has received reports that some people can actually cut the size of their meals in half by consuming a glass of soluble fiber mix before eating.

Equally important, consuming fiber before meals can reduce the rapid absorption of simple carbohydrates (such as refined sugar) and modulate blood sugar levels (Anderson et al 1993). A review of clinical studies of fiber shows that it has numerous weight-loss benefits, including the following:

  • Soluble fiber-rich bread improved glycemic control, reduced blood pressure, and decreased cholesterol and triglyceride levels (Nizami et al 2004).
  • Consumption of an additional 14 g of fiber per day for more than two days was associated with a 10 percent decrease in calorie intake and body weight loss of 1.9 kg over 3.8 months (Howarth et al 2001).
  • A prospective cohort study showed that weight gain is slowed with higher intake of high-fiber, whole-grain foods, whereas study subjects put on more weight when consuming refined-grain foods (Liu et al 2003).
  • A prospective, randomized, double-blind study showed that soluble fiber supplements can increase post-meal satisfaction (satiety) significantly (Heini et al 1998).
  • A randomized controlled clinical trial demonstrated that soluble fiber can lower lipids and plasma glucose levels (Aller et al 2004).
  • A clinical trial suggested that a diet rich in fiber may lower blood pressure moderately (He et al 2004).
  • A highly regarded study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that a high-fiber diet (50 g fiber, including 25 g soluble and 25 g insoluble) lowered 24-hour plasma glucose and insulin concentrations (Chandalia et al 2000).
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