A substance in grapefruit could prove to be the key to reversing acidity that leads to obesity and diabetes, according to a new Canadian study.
The substance, a flavonoid called "naringenin," is a naturally occurring alkaline compound in all citrus fruit, but especially in grapefruit, giving it its characteristic bitter taste.
Naringenin, found naturally in grapefruit, detoxes the liver and causes fat to be released instead of storing it, according to a study by Roberts Research Institute at the University of Western Ontario.
The study used two groups of mice that were fed a typical Western high-fat diet, a diet known to induce symptoms of metabolic syndrome, including obesity and diabetes. One group's diet, however, was treated with the alkaline compound found in grapefruit - naringenin.
The researchers found that the naringenin lowered elevations in tryclycerides and cholesterol, prevented the onset of insulin resistance, and otherwise normalized the metabolism of insulin. Also, the naringenin completely reprogrammed the livers of the mice so that excess fat was released rather than stored.
The "marked obesity that develops in these mice was completely prevented by naringenin," said study leader Murray Huff. "What was unique about the study was that the effects were independent of caloric intake, meaning the mice ate exactly the same amount of food and the same amount of fat. There was no suppression of appetite or decreased food intake, which are often the basis of strategies to reduce weight gain and its metabolic consequences."
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