The research, published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, investigated the ability of eight species of berries to prevent obesity and metabolic abnormalities associated with type 2 diabetes using a mouse model.
Led by Lovisa Heyman of Lund University in Sweden, the team found that of the eight berries tested lingonberries were shown to fully or partially prevent the detrimental metabolic effects induced by high-fat diet while the açai led to increased weight gain.
The good results from lingonberries may be due to their polyphenol content, said the researchers - who will now continue to work on understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in the effect of the lingonberries, in addition to testing whether the effect can be observed in humans.
“Up to 20 % of our mice’s diet was lingonberries," explained senior author Karin Berger. "It isn’t realistic for humans to eat such a high proportion. However, the goal is not to produce such dramatic effects as in the ‘high-fat’ mice, but rather to prevent obesity and diabetes by supplementing a more normal diet with berries."