Scientists in Arkansas are reporting new evidence that natural pigments responsible for the beautiful blue/purple/reddish color of certain fruits and vegetables may help prevent obesity. Their animal study, scheduled for the Feb. 13 issue of ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, however, reports that eating the whole fruit containing these pigments seems to be less effective than eating an extract of the berry.

Ronald L. Prior and colleagues, who did the new study, note that past research has shown that the pigments — called anthocyanins — prevent obesity in laboratory mice fed a high-fat diet. Anthocyanins are found in grape skins, blueberries, blackberries, purple corn, and other foods. The mice also had other healthful changes in disease-related substances found in the blood.

In the new study, researchers found that mice fed a high-fat diet for 8 weeks plus drinking water with purified anthocyanins from blueberries and strawberries gained less weight and had lower body fat levels than a control group. “Anthocyanins fed as the whole blueberry did not prevent and may have actually increased obesity,” the study reported. “However, feeding purified anthocyanins from blueberries or strawberries reduced obesity.”

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4 Opinions

  1. Rox // 18 April 2008 at 22:30

    I won't even start on my thoughts on animal studies, but this makes sense - another big benefit to brightly coloured foods, especially dark reds, is the higher antioxidants and beta-carotene. Pigments in fruit and veg are always something to look out for health-wise really.

    P.S. Something interesting, since I gave up dairy and eggs a few weeks ago, and have been drinking green tea instead of coffee, even though I haven't been doing Muaythai or even running I've noticed my weight go down. Just goes to show what a diff green tea and water and eating a bit more healthy can do, when I get back in my routine next week will hopefully kick some even more calories!

  2. HoTsTePPa // 19 April 2008 at 00:55

    Dairy, eggs and coffee you say... hmmm

    I'm in need of losing a lot more than 'some' weight, theres a serious amount excess Yoghetta lollipops and oreo cookies that needs losing here.

    Shot for the heads up :)

  3. Rox // 20 April 2008 at 12:18

    Cool beans. :-)

    For an experiment, try drinking green tea instead of coffee for a week or two and see if you notice any difference.

    (I have to admit though, I had a few cups of coffee over the weekend, still - lapse every now and then isn't a train smash)

  4. HoTsTePPa // 20 April 2008 at 12:28

    It's worth a shot, will try it and let you know how it goes!