Recently a study out of the Texas Women's University looked at whether blueberries with their high polyphenol content could help in fighting obesity. Blueberries after all have already been cited as having positive health effects on other conditions like cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. The study was conducted in Petri dishes (not live animals) using a blueberry polyphenol extract and tissue cultures from mice. On the surface the findings look positive. The purpose was to examine the effect that the polyphenol in blueberries had in counteracting the development of fat cells. The result was a 73 percent reduction in the number of fat cells using the highest dose and a 27 percent reduction with the smallest dose. Positive but, what does this actually mean?
"I wanted to see if using blueberry polyphenols could inhibit obesity at a molecular level. We still need to test this dose in humans to make sure there are no adverse effects and to see if the doses are as effective.
Determining the best dose for humans will be important. The promise is there for blueberries to help reduce adipose tissue from forming in the body," says Shiwani Moghe the head researcher for the study.
"This sounds like the basis for a new drug development company instead of encouraging people to shop the produce section of their local supermarket," say co-authors Dian Griesel, Ph.D. and Tom Griesel. In their new book, TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust (BSH, 2011), the Griesel's point out that anyone can become lean and healthy and that fruits and veggies are one of the essentials.
"Take a look at the 25 highest known polyphenol rich foods and you will see that the list is almost entirely fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. These are the same "natural" foods we have consumed for tens of thousands of years. French scientists have identified 452 foods and 502 different types of polyphenols. Odds are they all play an important part in our health in one way or another," according to Tom Griesel.
A Spanish scientist working at the institute of Food Research in Norwich looked at apples, peaches and nectarines. She found that the non-extractable polyphenol content is up to five times higher in the actual fruit than the extractable compounds. "The extracted compounds are obtained by treating with acid to obtain them from the cell walls of the fruit in the lab," according to Sara Arranz of the Spanish Council of Scientific Research (CSIC) in Madrid.
"If non-extracted polyphenols are not considered, the levels of beneficial polyphenols such as proanthocyanidins, ellagic acid and catchin are substantially underestimated." The Spanish research group has been working to show that non-extractable polyphenols, which generally are not considered in analysis and nutritional studies, are a major part of the bioactive compounds in a healthy diet.
Polyphenols might also work with fibers like pectin and have a positive effect in large intestine accessibility. Dr. Paul Kroon explains "In the human body, these compounds will be fermented by bacteria in the colon, creating metabolites that may be beneficial, for example with antioxidant activity."
What this all means according to Dian Griesel, who has worked with cutting edge biotechnology and drug development companies for the past 15 years is that, "Fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are best consumed in their natural unadultered form as designed and the way they have been consumed for tens of thousands of years during our evolution. It's not smart to fool with Mother Nature."
"Consuming a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and many spices will help maintain high levels of polyphenols in your body and blood stream all day long. Foods with rich colors are usually the best and contain the highest amounts of all known polyphenols and antioxidants. Even tea, coffee, red wine and chocolate have been shown to have high levels of polyphenols," says Tom.
"Another key is to avoid dietary sources that increase free radicals and destroy the beneficial properties of polyphenols like deep fried foods, processed and over cooked or chemically treated meats like luncheon cuts and bacon. In addition, your body will use up antioxidant polyphenols much faster if you are under stress which makes a regularly practiced stress reduction technique essential, "says Dian.
The Griesels conclude: "Do not wait for any conclusion or recommendation of these 'scientific' studies. For ideal health, fresh fruits and vegetables are ideal foods. They are naturally high in all known and unknown polyphenols and antioxidants. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds daily and no additional drugs or 'extract' supplements are required to maintain optimal health."