Raspberries May Improve After-Meal Blood Sugar: Study

Raspberries not only taste good, but they might help with controlling blood sugar. So says a new study by researchers from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

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The researchers began their investigation because of the growing evidence that dietary polyphenols are beneficial to human health. There are literally thousands of polyphenols, and they’re found in a variety of plant-based foods, such as vegetables, red wine, tea, extra-virgin olive oil, chocolate and fruits — including raspberries, which have 215 milligrams of polyphenols per 100 grams of weight. Several studies have provided strong evidence that the consumption of polyphenols can provide protection against cancers, cardiovascular diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, aging and neurodegenerative diseases, and diabetes.

In this newest study, which was published in the journal Obesity, the researchers recruited 32 adults between the ages of 20 and 60 (about half women, half men). Twenty-one of them were overweight or obese and had prediabetes and insulin resistance. The other 11 served as the reference group. At the beginning, participants randomly received one of three breakfasts: The three breakfasts were similar in calories and macronutrients, but the amounts of red raspberries were different. One breakfast had no raspberries, one had 125 grams (about one cup), and one had 250 grams. Blood samples were then taken from the subjects a half hour after eating, hourly for eight hours, and then the following morning.

The researchers found that the subjects who had prediabetes and insulin resistance and who consumed 250 grams of raspberries had lower glucose levels both half an hour and an hour after the meal. Similarly, the overweight/obese participants who had prediabetes and insulin resistance showed lower insulin levels on average in the 24 hours after the 250-gram raspberries meal. The researchers also reported that the higher the consumption of raspberries, the less insulin the subjects at risk for diabetes needed to manage their blood sugar.

According to lead study author Britt Burton-Freeman, PhD, “People at risk for diabetes are often told to not eat fruit because of their sugar content. However, certain fruits — such as red raspberries — not only provide essential micronutrients, but also components… that have anti-diabetic actions.” She added: “For people who are at risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other health risks, knowing what foods have protective benefits and working them into your diet now can be an important strategy for slowing or reversing progression to disease.”

Want to learn about additional strategies for managing blood sugar after meals? Read “Strike the Spike II: Dealing With High Blood Sugar After Meals,” “Dealing With After-Meal Blood Sugar Spikes? Don’t Skip Breakfast” and “Walking Significantly Reduces After-Meal Glucose.”

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