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Weird Science: Blueberries May Fight Fat

Alinea West: Course 9 - Dessert Fixings

The cardiovascular benefits of consuming blueberries, with their high polyphenol content, are well-known, but it turns out they may also help fight the formation of fatty tissue -- at least if you're a mouse. Shiwani Moghe, a researcher from Texas Woman's University evaluated whether "blueberry polyphenols play a role in adipocyte differentiation" i.e. the process in which an unspecialized cell becomes more like a fat-storing cell. (It's called adipogenesis.)

The results of the study, which Moghe presented this past weekend at the American Society for Nutrition, were promiding. In tissue cultures taken from mice, those with the highest dose of blueberry polyphenols showed a 73% decrease in lipids, while those with the lowest dose still showed a 27% decrease.

The dosage level still needs to be tested in humans to see if there are any risks or adverse side effects. Like turning blue and inflating to the size of a small hot air balloon à la Violet Beauregard? That wouldn't be ideal.


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