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Berry Wine: A Tasty way to Target Diabetes?

Wednesday, 22 August 2012 11:47 AM

Here’s some sweet news for wine lovers with diabetes: University of Illinois scientists have found bioactive compounds in blueberry and blackberry wines cause beneficial changes in the way the body absorbs carbohydrates and can lead to significant drops in blood sugar.
The findings, published in the Journal of Food Science, indicate berry wines block the enzymes responsible for carbohydrate absorption and assimilation and, in turn, can decrease elevated blood glucose levels – a hallmark of diabetes that can lead to organ damage, blindness and other health problems.
"We're thinking about a dealcoholized fermented fruit beverage that would optimize the inhibition of the… enzymes and also make use of the wines' other healthful bioactive components," said Elvira de Mejia, a University of Illinois food chemist, who helped conduct the study.
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To reach their conclusions, de Mejia and her colleagues evaluated the nutritional value of 19 wines, and determined a blueberry-blackberry blend had the greatest effect on carb absorption. In laboratory tests, they found the wines’ anti-carb effects were nearly as effective as those of the anti-diabetes drug acarbose. At both room and colder temperatures, berry wine retained the ability to degrade the enzymes, de Mejia said.
In a second study, the researchers quantified the antioxidant, polyphenol, and anthocyanin content of blueberry and blackberry wines – bioactive compounds that have been found to reduce inflammation, which contributes to the development of many chronic illnesses, including cancer, metabolic disease, and cardiovascular disease.
"Preliminary studies have indicated that anthocyanins may have a positive effect on cognition and overall brain health while protecting against some of the effects of aging, such as Alzheimer's disease and memory loss," de Mejia said. “These berries have some very intriguing components.”
De Mejia suggested removing the alcohol from the wines – but leaving the carb-degrading enzyme compounds, inflammation-fighting anthocyanins, and other beneficial bioactive components intact – could produce “a functional and flavorful drink for diabetics and others.”
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Scientists have found bioactive compounds in berry wines can lead to significant drops in blood sugar.
Wednesday, 22 August 2012 11:47 AM
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