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Lingonberries may help you lose weight

Harold Mandel's picture

Articles about the obesity epidemic are hitting the press daily. And so there has been an aggressive search for safe, effective ways to win the war against obesity. Good ideas such as extra exercise, staying away from high fat, high sugar and high calorie foods, drinking extra water and green tea daily, and taking raspberry ketone and green coffee bean supplements have been gaining a lot of attention to help fight fat. Research has now uncovered that lingonberries may also help you win the fight against obesity.

Researchers opened up a study to investigate the beneficial metabolic effects of berries in high-fat fed mice, reported the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. The goal of this study was to screen eight species of berries for their ability to prevent obesity and metabolic abnormalities which are associated with type 2 diabetes. In this study mice were assigned the following diets for 13 weeks: low-fat diet, high-fat diet or high-fat diet supplemented (20%), with:

1: Lingonberry

2: Blackcurrant

3: Bilberry

4: Raspberry

5: Açai

6: Crowberry

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7: Prune

8: Blackberry

The researchers found that the groups of mice receiving a high-fat diet supplemented with lingonberries, blackcurrants, raspberries or bilberries did not gain as much weight and had lower fasting insulin levels than the control group which received high-fat diet without berries. It was observed lingonberries, and also blackcurrants and bilberries, significantly decreased body fat content and hepatic lipid accumulation. Positive effects on glucose homeostasis were also mediated. It was also observed that the group which received açai displayed increased weight gain and developed large, steatotic livers.

It was concluded that lingonberries fully or partially prevent the detrimental metabolic effects which are induced by a high-fat diet. Blackcurrants and bilberries were found to have similar properties, but to a lesser degree. The researchers proposed that the beneficial metabolic effects of lingonberries could be useful in preventing obesity and associated disorders.

A study at Lund University in Sweden has found lingonberries almost totally prevented weight gain in mice which were fed a high-fat diet, reported Lund University, in a review of this research. These Scandinavian berries also were found to produce lower blood sugar levels and cholesterol. It was also found that the "super berry" açai was associated with increased weight gain. A type of mice that easily store fat and therefore can be regarded as a model for humans who are overweight and who are at risk of diabetes, were used for this study by the Lund University research team.

In the study some of the mice were fed a low-fat diet, while the majority of them were fed a diet high in fat. The mice were then divided into groups, where all except a control group were fed a type of berry. After three months it was observed that the lingonberry group had beyond a doubt the best results. The mice who were fed the lingonberries had not put on more weight than the mice that had been fed a low-fat diet, and their blood sugar and insulin readings were very similar to those of the "low-fat" mice. Furthermore, their cholesterol levels and levels of fat in the liver were found to be lower than those mice who received a high-fat diet without any berries.

The Lund University researchers have said this is the first study of this kind using lingonberries. Lovisa Heyman, a PhD student in Experimental Medical Science, has said, “That is probably because lingonberries are mainly eaten in Scandinavia. At international conferences, I always have to start by explaining what they are, and showing the audience a jar of them." It has been noted that there were also good effects produced with blackcurrants and bilberries, although not as pronounced as the effects seen with lingonberries.

Surprisingly, the açai berries came last. At the start of the study the researchers were actually interested in seeing how well the Nordic berries would do in comparison with the Brazilian ‘"super berry". However, Karin Berger, diabetes researcher at Lund University, said, “Instead, the opposite happened. In our study, the açai berries led to weight gain and higher levels of fat in the liver."

It has been suggested by the researchers that the positive results from lingonberries may be due to their polyphenol content. Nevertheless, the Lund researchers are not recommending that people start eating large quantities of lingonberry jam. Jam contains a lot of sugar and boiling the berries can affect their nutrient content. It has been suggested that frozen lingonberries on cereal or in a smoothie are considerably better.

There is no doubt about it, more people than ever are searching for safe and effective natural ways to help them avoid obesity and to lose weight. Keeping in mind that good nutrition is essential to maintaining your health while dieting, it's a good idea to consider supplementing your diet with lingonberries to help you maintain a good weight. To add some diversity to your berry consumption, blackcurrants, bilberries, and raspberries are also a good idea. You should also try to stay active and try to exercise regularly. Eating slower may also help you avoid getting fat, as I have reported upon in a separate article for EmaxHealth.