Study Suggests Choosing Tart Cherries May Help Reduce Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes

Attention Focused on Slowing Growth of Epidemic During American Diabetes


Oct 30, 2007, 01:00 ET from Cherry Marketing Institute

    LANSING, Mich., Oct. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- For the more than 50 million
 Americans who have "pre-diabetes" (also known as metabolic syndrome), a
 cluster of health factors that put them at risk for type 2 diabetes, eating
 tart cherries may have a whole new meaning.
     A recent study in animals by University of Michigan researchers found
 diets enriched with antioxidant-rich cherries significantly lowered insulin
 and fasting glucose levels, key markers for the development of type 2
 diabetes. Adding cherries to the diet also lowered the animals' total
 cholesterol levels and triglycerides after 90 days(1).
     The American Diabetes Association estimates that most Americans with
 pre-diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years unless they make
 changes to their food and exercise behaviors. More than 20 million
 Americans already have type 2 diabetes, a condition that greatly increases
 the risk for other diseases including heart disease and stroke.
     "Cherries are packed with powerful plant pigments called anthocyanins
 -- which give cherries their dark red color -- and it's these compounds we
 believe lower blood sugar and insulin levels," said study co-author Dr.
 Steven F. Bolling, a cardiac surgeon at the University of Michigan
 Cardiovascular Center who also heads the U-M Cardioprotection Research
 Laboratory, where the study was performed in laboratory rats. "We are
 encouraged to see in these animal trials that cherries have the potential
 to help reduce the risk for serious conditions like metabolic syndrome, or
 'pre-diabetes,' and it certainly warrants additional clinical research in
     The study also showed the cherry-fed groups had lower levels of a
 plasma marker of oxidative damage and increased blood antioxidant capacity
 -- not surprising since cherries are one of the richest sources of
     The study used whole tart cherries in powder form, which was fed to
 rats as one percent of their total diet.
     While the amount of cherries used in the study could equate to
 reasonable amounts in a human diet, humans and rats differ substantially in
 the ability to absorb nutrients like anthocyanins and more research is
 needed to translate this science into a diet recommendation.
     More than 60 studies have linked tart cherries, the kind consumed as
 dried, frozen or juice, to a variety of potential health benefits including
 helping to ease arthritis pain to reducing risk factors for heart disease
 and some cancers. You can find out more details about the benefits of tart
 cherries by visiting There you will find the
 Cherry Nutrition Report as well as ways to enjoy cherries year-round.
     The study on cherries was presented at the scientific conference
 Experimental Biology and has been submitted for publication in a medical
 journal. The study was funded by the Cherry Marketing Institute, which
 provided an unrestricted grant to the University of Michigan to conduct the
 research and was not directly involved in the design, conduct or analysis
 of the project.
     (1) Cherry-enriched diets reduce metabolic syndrome and oxidative stress
         in lean Dahl-SS rats. Experimental Biology 2007 225.8, Seymour EM,
         Singer AAM, Bennink MR, Bolling SF.  Presented in minisymposium 225,
         Dietary Bioactive Compounds: Chronic Disease Risk Reduction.

SOURCE Cherry Marketing Institute