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J Med Food. 2017 Dec;20(12):1240-1249. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2017.0025. Epub 2017 Sep 28.

The Effect of Anthocyanin-Rich Purple Vegetable Diets on Metabolic Syndrome in Obese Zucker Rats.

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1 Department of Human Health and Nutrition Sciences, University of Guelph , Guelph, Canada .
2 Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph , Guelph, Canada .
3 Guelph Food Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada , Guelph, Canada .


Consumption of highly colored fruits and vegetables rich in anthocyanins has been associated with numerous health benefits. Purple carrots (PC) and purple potatoes (PP) have higher anthocyanin concentrations and higher biological activities compared with less pigmented cultivars. We hypothesized that substitution of the majority of carbohydrate in a high fat diet with PP or PC, for 8 weeks, would improve insulin resistance and hypertension, major components of metabolic syndrome, compared with orange carrots (OC), white potatoes (WP) or a control, high fat, sucrose-rich diet (HFD) in obese Zucker rats. After 8 weeks of feeding, intraperitoneal glucose tolerance test, intraperitoneal insulin tolerance test (ipITT), and invasive hemodynamic tests were performed. The PP group had better glucose tolerance compared with the WP and the HFD groups and higher insulin sensitivity as measured by the ipITT and homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (P = .018) compared with the HFD without having any effect on blood pressure. The PC reduced left ventricular pressure compared with both the HFD (P = .01) and the OC (P = .049) groups and reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressures compared with the HFD group (P = .01 and <.0001, respectively) without having any effect on glucose homeostasis. The PC animals consumed more and were more obese than other groups, possibly obscuring any benefit of this vegetable on glucose tolerance. The bioactives in the vegetables responsible for blood pressure and glucose homeostasis could be different, and their effects could be independent of each other. The specific bioactives of each vegetable and their molecular targets remain to be identified. Nonetheless, incorporation of purple vegetables in functional food products may provide metabolic/cardiovascular benefits in the background of a high-fat diet that promotes obesity.


cardiovascular disease; diabetes; flavonoids; glucose tolerance test; high-fat diet; hypertension; insulin resistance; overweight; polyphenols

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