Can Blueberries Help Fight Fat?

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You’ve heard blueberries referred to as a “superfood,” thanks to their abundance of antioxidants called polyphenols, which are thought to fight cancer and boost heart health. Now a new study suggests that the healthful fruit might even play a role in weight maintenance.

Shiwani Moghe, a researcher at Texas Woman’s University, wanted to know if blueberries’ polyphenols could break down fat or inhibit fat cells from forming. So she applied polyphenols extracted from blueberries directly to tissue samples from mice in petri dishes, at three varying doses. What she found was encouraging. The samples treated with polyphenols had less fat than the control sample, and the effect was dose dependent: the sample given the largest dose of polyphenols had a 73% decrease in lipid cells, while the smallest dose led to a 27% decrease. (More on The Supernut: Walnuts Pack a Powerful Dose of Antioxidants)

“We still need to test this dose in humans, to make sure there are no adverse effects, and to see if the doses are as effective. This is a burgeoning area of research. Determining the best dose for humans will be important,” Moghe said in a statement. “The promise is there for blueberries to help reduce adipose tissue from forming in the body.”

The research, which was presented at the annual Experimental Biology meeting, doesn’t suggest gorging on blueberries is going to make you slim — however enjoyable that would be. For other fat-fighting food myths (or facts), check out ABC News’ gallery.