Aronia berries reduce belly fat
If you eat a hefty portion of aronia berries every day, your fat reserves will decrease and your muscle mass may increase. You could draw this conclusion from a Japanese animal study that researchers at Hokkaido University published in the Journal of Oleo Science. According to the study, the phenols in aronia increase insulin sensitivity.
Body recompositioning drugs
Substances that reduce fat reserves and at the same time build muscle are wildly exciting. Carnosic acid may be one of those body recompositioning drugs, as may be fish oil, L-citrulline and ursolic acid. According to the Japanese study, aronia berries also have this dual positive effect on body composition.
The Japanese gave rats food with extra fat and sugar for a period of four weeks. This diet caused the animals to gain weight. Some of the rats were also given an extract of aronia berries mixed into their food, and yet others were given an extract of bilberries.
The human equivalent of the dose tested would be about 2300 mg extract per day. If you are more interested in using dried aronia berries, then you'd need about 100 g.
The main phenols found in the aronia extract were cyanidin-3-galactoside, cyanidin-3-arabinoside and cyanidin-3-glucoside. The main phenols in the bilberry extract were cyanidin-3-glucoside, cyanidin-3-arabinoside and pelargonidin-3-glucoside.
The supplementation had no effect on weight gain or on the amount of food that the rats ate.
The bilberry extract had no effect on the circumference of the visceral fat deposits. However, the rats that had consumed aronia berries had less visceral fat than the other lab animals.
Aronia lowered the LDL and glucose levels in the animals.
Let's start with a recap. Aronia had no effect on weight gain, but it did have a negative effect on the body's fat reserves. That's why we suspect that aronia may have a positive effect on lean body mass.
The Japanese think that aronia inhibits the body's uptake of fat from food. They base this theory on their in-vitro study, in which aronia phenols sabotaged the lipase enzymes that are necessary for fat to be absorbed by the large intestine.
We have sought an explanation in a different direction - the increase in insulin sensitivity induced by aronia, which the Japanese also observed. It may just be that the muscle cells can absorb more nutrients from the blood, resulting in fewer nutrients getting to the fat cells.
"The data suggest that aronia phytochemicals may be an effective crude drug for the treatment of obesity", the researchers wrote.
J Oleo Sci. 2015 Dec 1;64(12):1243-50.
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