Can Flavonoids Fight Weight Gain?
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Monday, March 21, 2016 12:00 AM

A diet rich in flavonoids, a class of plant pigments found in fruits and vegetables, may help slow the expansion of waistlines as we age.  Over the 24-year study period, participants gained an average of 2-4 pounds every 4 years. But every standard deviation increase in flavonoid consumption shaved up to a quarter-pound off that weight gain.

The magnitudes of these associations were small, less than a pound per increased daily standard deviation, but a single serving per day of many fruits can often provide more than one standard deviation. For example, 1 half-cup of blueberries provides about 121 mg or approximately 12 standard deviations of anthocyanins, an important subclass of flavonoid, they noted.

Our results suggest that choosing high-flavonoid fruits and vegetables, such as apples, pears, berries, and peppers, may help with weight control. These data may help to refine previous dietary recommendations for the prevention of obesity and its potential consequences.

Most adults gain weight as they age, but most Americans consume less than 1 cup (less than two servings) of fruits and less than 2 cups of vegetables daily.  Beyond increasing intake to current recommendations of 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables per day, people may be able to maximize their health benefit by including optimal fruits and vegetables in their daily diets.

Good dietary sources of flavonoids include blueberries, strawberries, apples, pears, tea, onions, and peppers, the investigators said.