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There seems to be some hope that including berries in a diabetic diet, namely strawberries and blueberries, can help prevent weight gain and improve insulin resistance. What is the scientific evidence that gives us this hope, though?
In 2017, a study was published in the journal Food and Function that analyzed how adding a freeze-dried berry powder could help reduce obesity-related diseases like insulin-resistance, as well as curb weight gain.
The researchers fed rats (we do not support animal testing here and present these findings for your benefit only) the freeze-dried berry powder (5:1 strawberry to blueberry). After analyzing the effects, they found the rats fed this supplement experienced significantly reduced weight gain as well as reduced visceral adipose accumulation (fat around the internal organs) in two separate experiments. They also found through a gene expression analysis that the powder inhibited both adipogenesis and lipogenesis, two forms of fat or fatty tissue formation.
In a very exciting development, they also found the powder to contribute to reduced insulin resistance via HOMA-IR (Insulin Resistance Index). Some researchers feel there may be some flaws in the HOMA-IR index measurement, but it suits very well our purposes here of simply showing the potential to help treat a disease as part of a diabetic diet.
One result they discovered which we likely could have and should have all expected is reduced inflammation. All berries are known for their high antioxidant concentration and for containing a boatload of beneficial vitamins and phytonutrients as well as being anti-inflammatory, so this comes as no surprise.
Can Berries Be Included in a Diabetic Diet or Treatment Plan?
This study, which needs to be replicated in humans on a larger scale to prove what it can do for us, is nonetheless very tantalizing for both those suffering from obesity and those who are not.
First of all, before we go further, if you are suffering from any obesity-related diseases including diabetes, talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diabetic diet or treatment program. The following is not to be construed as medical advice, but is information only.
If berries can indeed replicate these same effects in humans and are safely tolerated as part of a diabetic diet, the potential to reduce fat formation, particularly around the organs, curb weight gain and reduce insulin resistance can make it a great tool in the fight against both obesity and diabetes.
And a delicious one that can help satisfy urges for sugary desserts.
For those who do not have these obesity-related issues, these berries could offer great potential in prevention.
The potential effects described in the study in addition to berries’ known antioxidant capabilities, anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties, as well as their vitamin/mineral and phytonutrient concentration make them a strong and powerful addition to anyone’s diet and health plan, so long as they are well-tolerated.
Those on ketogenic or low-carb diets should also pay close attention as berries are one of the few, if not only, fruits that can be added to these diets due to their low sugar concentration.
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