Encouraging a Boost of Blue as a Smart Choice for American Diabetes Month

Partnership with the American Diabetes Association
shines a spotlight on healthy, delicious blueberries

FOLSOM, Calif. – November 1, 2021 – During American Diabetes Month, the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) is inspiring consumers to grab a boost of blue as part of an overall healthy diet. The American Diabetes Association notes that fruit can fit into a diabetes friendly meal plan, help to satisfy a sweet tooth and provide extra nutrition. Blueberries are a great way to combine natural sweetness with the added benefit of essential nutrients like fiber, manganese, vitamin C and vitamin K. [i] They’re a good source of fiber as well, containing 3.6 grams, and only 80 calories per serving (one cup, or a handful).

USHBC is making it easy to choose blueberries throughout this important month, sharing recipes, nutrition information, research and other content as part of a promotional campaign designed to boost awareness and reach new audiences:

  • Program spokesperson, Maya Feller, MS, RD, CDN, and other health professional partners in the USHBC “Blue Crew” are contributing original content, including blog posts, recipes, social media content and more.
  • Partnership with the American Diabetes Association (ADA): The ADA is featuring two blueberry recipes that meet its nutrition criteria, Blueberry Almond Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps and 5 Ingredient Blueberry Protein Muffins, on its online Diabetes Food Hub, and USHBC is running one digital ad, also to be featured on the Diabetes Food Hub. These program activities are complemented by a full-page print ad that is running in the fall issue of Diabetes Spectrum, a journal committed to assisting healthcare professionals in developing strategies to individualize treatment and enhance diabetes self-management education to optimize patient outcomes.
  • Special activations with year-round partner, the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH): Sponsorship of an expert advice article authored by PBH contributor and registered dietitian, Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, provides a closer look at how fruit can be included in a diabetes friendly eating plan and address common misperceptions about sugar content in fruit. USHBC and PBH also developed two social media posts that show how grabbing a boost of blue as a snack or addition to a dish is an easy way to make a quick, healthful choice every day. The social posts will reach over 1 million followers across PBH’s digital ecosystem, and additional digital content is being amplified via PBH’s digital health professional and consumer e-newsletters, reaching 95,000+ subscribers.

“American Diabetes Month is an opportunity for USHBC to help individuals impacted by type 1 or type 2 diabetes find delicious ways to enjoy healthy meals and snacks – including grabbing a boost of blue,” said Jennifer Sparks, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at USHBC. “Through our partnerships with trusted and credible health organizations and experts, we’re excited to showcase how fresh and frozen blueberries can fit conveniently into a diabetes friendly meal plan and provide a pop of sweet-tart flavor, along with a variety of beneficial vitamins and minerals.”

Dedicating November to sharing health-related resources and support for diabetes is important, as the disease has a widespread impact. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 34.2 million Americans, or 10.5% of the U.S. population, have diabetes. Additionally, 88 million adults have prediabetes, which is more than a third (34.5%) of the U.S. adult population. Approximately 90-95% of those with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, which occurs when the body’s cells do not respond to insulin, the hormone produced in the pancreas that helps blood sugar enter the cells. [ii] The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is increasing in the U.S. population due to aging, physical inactivity, and a high prevalence of overweight and obesity, all of which are serious risk factors. [iii]

The science to date suggests dietary changes are effective and low-cost ways to improve blood sugar levels, manage weight, and reduce cardiovascular risk factors for individuals with diabetes. Further, scientific evidence supports the role fruits such as blueberries play in diabetes management, from helping to improve metabolic syndrome risk factors like cholesterol and blood pressure to helping to modestly lower hemoglobin A1C (average blood sugar level) as a good source of fiber. [iv]

“Fruits with a low glycemic index, like blueberries, can be a smart addition to a diabetes friendly meal plan,” said Kristamarie Collman, MD, double board certified, family medicine doctor and owner of Prōse Medical and Wellness. “Blueberries add natural sweetness to healthy meals and snacks, so individuals with diabetes can avoid extra added sugar but still enjoy the foods they love.”

The fifth of six “power periods,” American Diabetes Month is part of Grab a Boost of Blue, a strategic positioning and call to action backed by new tools and consumer research for retailers. It’s designed to tap into consumers’ passion for blueberries and increase consumption. USHBC has developed a digital toolkit of compelling content – social media images, digital ads and other resources – retailers and industry stakeholders can use to participate in the promotion.

In addition to being a smart choice to help manage diabetes, blueberries also are certified as heart-healthy through the American Heart Association (AHA)® Heart-Check Food Certification Program. USHBC continues to encourage industry-wide adoption of the official heart-check mark on blueberry packaging and throughout online, print and other promotional materials and activities.

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About the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council
The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council is an agriculture promotion group, representing blueberry growers and packers in North and South America who market their blueberries in the United States and overseas, and works to promote the growth and well-being of the entire blueberry industry. The blueberry industry is committed to providing blueberries that are grown, harvested, packed and shipped in clean, safe environments. Learn more at blueberrycouncil.org.

[i] American Diabetes Association (2021). What superfoods are good for diabetes? Retrieved from: https://www.diabetes.org/healthy-living/recipes-nutrition/eating-well/diabetes-superfoods

[ii] National Diabetes Statistics Report (2020). Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pdfs/data/statistics/national-diabetes-statistics-report.pdf

[iii] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2017 Diabetes Report. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p0718-diabetes-report.html

[iv] Evert AB, et al. Nutrition therapy for adults with diabetes or prediabetes: a consensus report. Diabetes Care. 2019; 42:731-754.