Recent Brazilian research indicates that the bioactive compounds in orange juice (OJ) help to modulate blood glucose levels and may even promote health improvements. The research was conducted by the Food Research Center of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University of São Paulo. The research was highlighted in Fundecitrus’ Citricultor magazine.
According to principal researcher Franco Lajolo, oranges do not cause a significant change in the blood glucose of individuals who consume them during meals, even though a significant concentration of sugars are naturally present in the fruit. The sugars in oranges are glucose, fructose and sucrose.
“It is possible that some bioactive compounds interact with the gut microbiota, helping to control the elevation of the glycemic rate,” Lajolo said. “For this very reason, and also because of additional benefits, we encourage everyone to include oranges in their diet.”
The research was conducted by testing the glucose in the blood of three volunteer groups an hour after they drank various beverages after meals. One group drank water, one drank OJ, and one drank water with a sugar content equivalent to that available in OJ. The volunteers who consumed sugar in water had the highest blood glucose rate. The volunteers who drank orange juice or water had similar, much lower blood glucose rates.
Researchers conducted additional tests to understand how OJ helps to curb blood glucose. They collected blood samples from participants and investigated the circulating microRNAs, which regulate the expression of genes associated with the various metabolic pathways. OJ caused an increase in the expression of one of these genes, the miRNA-375, which is related to the production of insulin. It is also considered to be an indicator of pancreatic cell function, which makes it an ally for diabetes.
Researcher Neuza Hassimotto said when OJ is ingested with some food, especially during meals, it offers a quick release of energy to the body without drastically increasing blood glucose. She said the research indicates OJ was beneficial for healthy people as well as for obese people who have insulin resistance.
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