Reducing Risk of Diabetes with Berries in Diet Interview with:
Prof Aedin Cassidy
University of East Anglia,
Norwich Research Park, Norwich What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: We know fruits and vegetables seem to be particularly important for prevention of  heart disease and diabetes but what constituent may responsible for these benefits is unclear. These foods contain powerful bioactive compounds called flavonoids and in lab and animal experiments we know that flavonoids can reduce inflammation, improve BP, keep our arteries healthy and flexible, improve blood flow and reduce cholesterol levels. Our previous work had shown that a higher level of one class of flavonoids, the anthocyanins, responsible for the brilliant red/blue colours in fruits and other plant foods/products, could reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and of having a heart attack. This study builds on this and now we have evidence in humans that following intake of one portion of berries per day we can see these heart health benefits, and benefits on how we control our insulin and glucose levels. Were any of the findings unexpected?

Answer:  Of all the flavonoids that we studies it was the anthocyanins that seemed to offer the greatest benefit. What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Answer:  To reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, consumers should add more anthocyanin rich foods to their habitual diet- small changes in intake would have a great impact on prevention efforts What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Answer:  We have now commenced a large clinical  trial feeidng different doses of berries, rich in anthocyanins to participants who are at mild/moderate risk of developing type 2 diabetes and this 6 month trial will hopefully further advance our understanding of the importance of anthocyanins in reducing risk of type 2 diabetes.


Intakes of Anthocyanins and Flavones Are Associated with Biomarkers of Insulin Resistance and Inflammation in Women

Jennings A, Welch AA, Spector T, Macgregor A, Cassidy A.

J Nutr. 2013 Dec 11. [Epub ahead of print]