Issue 47 September 2012
4. Tasty Berries Decrease Blood Sugars
Carbohydrate absorption can be reduced in a tasty way. Scientists have found compounds in berries similar to the alpha-glucosidase inhibitors that inhibit enzymes responsible for carbohydrate absorption and assimilation.

Elvira de Mejia, a University of Illinois Professor of Food Chemistry and Food Toxicology, stated that, "We're thinking about a dealcoholized fermented fruit beverage that would optimize the inhibition of the alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase enzymes and also make use of the wines' other healthful bioactive components."

First the scientists conducted a study to compare the anti-carb effects of the alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase enzymes with acarbose, an anti-diabetes drug. The carb-degrading enzymes were inhibited in a range of 91.8 percent for alpha-amylase compared to acarbose and 103.2 percent for alpha-glucosidase compared to acarbose.

The study is the first to assess the effect of berry fermentation at different temperatures on these carb-inhibiting enzymes. At both room and cold (4ÂșC) temperatures, berry wine retained the ability to degrade the enzymes, she said. In a second study, they quantified the antioxidant, polyphenol, and anthocyanin content of blueberry and blackberry wines. The proposed blend contains an abundance of these bioactive compounds, which add to its healthful properties.

"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. These berries have some very intriguing components," de Mejia said.

A food chemist, de Mejia would suggests to remove the alcohol from the wines, leaving the carb-degrading enzyme compounds, the inflammation-fighting anthocyanins, and other beneficial bioactive components in a functional and flavorful drink for diabetics and others.

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