Blueberry anthocyanin intake attenuates the postprandial cardiometabolic effect of an energy-dense food challenge: results from a double blind, randomized controlled trial in metabolic syndrome participants

Peter J Curtis, Lindsey Berends, Vera van der Velpen, Amy Jennings, Laura Haag, Preeti Chandra, Colin D Kay, Eric B Rimm, Aedín Cassidy
Clin Nutr. 2022 Jan 1;41(1):165-176.
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Adding the equivalent of one cup of fresh blueberries, consumed as 26 g of freeze-dried blueberries, may reduce the acute cardiometabolic burden of energy-dense meals. A recent study conducted at the NHS Clinical trials facility, University of East Anglia, UK, in a subset of the participants of the researchers previous 6-month intervention was completed between January 2014 and November 2016. 45 participants (29 men and 16 women, mean age 63.4+7.4 years) with metabolic syndrome were randomly assigned to an energy-dense blueberry or placebo intervention, which consisted of a milkshake-like meal replacement drink consumed after an overnight fast. The blueberry intervention consisted of 26 g of blueberry powder added to a 500-gram milkshake-like emulsion (969 kcal, 64.5g fat, 84 g carbohydrate), a meal that has a similar nutrient profile to a large burger, fries and cola meal. The placebo group received the same 500-gram milkshake-like meal replacement drink with the addition of a placebo powder with a similar nutrient composition as the blueberry powder (104 kcal, 0.6 g fat, 23 g carbohydrate, 1.1 g protein). Blood samples were collected prior to, and then 30, 60, 90, 120, 180, and 360 minutes after the energy-dense meal challenge, and again after 24 hours. An assessment of glucose, insulin, lipid and lipoprotein levels were performed over this time frame. No additional food was consumed until the 6-hour cardiometabolic measurements and blood samples were obtained. Additionally, for 21 days prior to the study, the intake of blueberries, and other anthocyanin-rich foods was restricted, in an effort to standardize food intake. The study results found that adding anthocyanin-rich blueberries (364 mg anthocyanin and 879 mg phenolics) to a high calorie, high-fat/high-sugar meal (969 kcal, 64.5g fat, 84 g carbohydrate) results in reduced insulin and glucose levels, lower total cholesterol, and improved good cholesterol (HDL-C) and its related lipoproteins (fractions of HDL-P and Apo-A1) in the 24 hours following the meal.

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