Good news for cherry lovers

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Researchers at the University of Tasmania, Australia, have conducted trials to determine the efficacy of anthocyanins – bioactive compounds found in high concentrates in sweet cherries (Prunus avium) – as a treatment and preventative therapy in high-fat diets.

'There is emerging evidence on the benefits of sweet cherry anthocyanins(water soluble compounds responsible for their red colors),' said Melanie Blackhall, from the Faculty of Health at the University of Tasmania.

'The majority of work carried out on anthocyanins has been in other fruits, and in tart cherry varieties, but not in sweet cherries.'

'There is growing evidence that anthocyanins have a positive impact on many diseases but only limited research on their potential anti-obesity actions has been conducted,' she added.

'Obesity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers, so we wanted to examine the effect of anthocyanin on a high-fat diet.'

In the study, mice were fed a high-fat diet and split into two trial groups – a six-week prevention trial and a 10-week reversal trial.

Anthocyanin was included at the start of the prevention trial, and at the end of week six in the reversal trial.

Mice in the prevention trial gained 19% less weight with six weeks of supplementation of anthocyanin.

The study also found that anthocyanin can help reduce inflammation.

'We’re aiming to carry out further research in human trials,' Blackhall said.

'Obesity is a global health concern where people take a range of drug regimens, and we would hope that anthocyanin could be included as part of treatment.'

'We’re also wanting to help consumers make the right choices about what they are consuming to prevent weight gain.'