Natural Belly Buster


ANN ARBOR, MICH—Many Americans struggle with belly fat, even when on a tightened daily dietary regiment. How disheartening it can be to be unable to lose that excess abdominal fat that hangs around the midsection. A new University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center study has revealed a secret that blueberries contain; a capability to burn off that belly!


The research findings reveals that blueberries have promising potential in reducing risk factors in a variety of problematic health problems that plague many Americans such as cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. The dramatic effects are credited to l phytochemicals—naturally occurring antioxidants—that are found in high concentration in blueberries.


The study was performed on obese laboratory rats. The researchers used freeze-dried blueberries crushed into powder that was mixed into the rats’ food, as part of both a low-or high-fat diet.  Some of the rats received no blueberry powder in their diets.


After a three-month study, the rats that were receiving the blueberry-enriched diet were shown to have less abdominal fat, lowered triglycerides, lower cholesterol and improved fasting glucose and insulin sensitivity, which are measures of just how well the body processes glucose for energy.


 The positive findings were greater amplified in the rats that were receiving a low-fat diet. Of those receiving the low-fat diet mixed with the blueberries, lower body weight, lower total fat mass and reduced liver mass was observed in comparison to those receiving blueberries in their high-fat diet. An enlarged liver, according to the researchers, is linked to obesity and insulin resistance, a hallmark of diabetes.


The rats used in the study suffered similar health consequences that many overweight Americans face which inevitably increases the risks of heart attacks, strokes and diabetes.


“Some measurements were changed by blueberry even if the rats were on a high fat diet,” says E. Mitchell Seymour, M.S., lead researcher and manager of the U-M Cardioprotection Research Laboratory. “We found by looking at fat muscle tissue, that blueberry intake affected genes related to fat-burning and storage. Looking at muscle tissue, we saw altered genes related to glucose uptake.”  


Steven Bolling, M.D., a U-M heart surgeon and head of the Cardioprotection Laboratory, says: “The benefits of eating fruits and vegetables has been well-researched, but our findings in regard to blueberries shows the naturally occurring chemicals they contain, such as anthocyanins, show promise in mitigating these health conditions.”


The study was supported by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, which supplied the blueberry powder. The Council’s supportive role in the study had no bearing on the study’s conduct or conclusive results found by the research.