Are you having trouble keeping your blood sugar levels under control? If you like berries, you’ll be happy to hear that you can enjoy blackcurrants. These dark berries have been found to have a noticeable impact on blood sugar and insulin levels after meals.
Tiny, with a sweet/tart taste, these berries are the perfect treat to snack on after a meal. Similar to blueberries, blackcurrants can help, lower oxidative stress and reduce inflammation.
And now, Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland have found that blackcurrants are also favorable for glucose metabolism — and it doesn’t take that much…
Berries Improve Insulin Sensitivity
Over the past few years, researchers have been fervently studying the effects of berries on glucose metabolism. This is especially true for blackcurrants and bilberries because they have been showing the most promising results.
In this study, 26 healthy participants (22 female, 4 male) consumed three different test products and sugar water. Each item was consumed separately throughout four visits at the lab.
The test products were a blackcurrant purée with added sugar, a blackcurrant product containing fermented quinoa, and a blackcurrant product base without blackcurrants. Each of them and the control product contained 31 g of available carbohydrates and had a similar composition of sugar components.
Blood samples were taken before the meals in fasting state and following meals at intervals up to 180 minutes after, and analyzed for glucose, insulin and free fatty acids.
Compared to sugar water, both blackcurrant products showed post-meal blood sugar and insulin levels were reduced from their maximum level and experienced a delayed increase in free fatty acids triggered by low blood sugar and delayed fall of glucose. In other words, no blood sugar spikes.
Previous findings showed that consuming 150g of blackcurrants had beneficial effects on blood glucose response after a meal. This new study shows that the same effects can be achieved with a smaller portion size – just 75 grams.
The researchers are hopeful that blackcurrant berries may be helpful in improving insulin sensitivity and decreasing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Blackcurrants and Currants are not the same…
There is a lot of false advertising when it comes to these berries. Some companies are selling dried grapes but marketing them as “black currants.” Notice how there’s a space between the two words? If it were the real thing, it would just be one word. Other labeling words to watch out for include, “zante currants” and “real currant.”
Blackcurrants are available year-round in frozen, dried and syrup forms. If you want to eat them fresh, you may be able to get them at your farmer’s market during the months of July to end of September. As with any berries, they are a versatile ingredient that can be used in just about anything. They can be blended into smoothies, turned into jam or just eaten raw.