Flavonoids may manage diabetes

After a 12-month trial looking at the heart-protecting qualities of foods containing flavonoids – bio-ingredients found in berries, tea, red wine, many fruits and vegetables and dark chocolate – researchers from the University of East Anglia revealed that a diet rich in such foods can help in the management of adult onset diabetes.

In the study of 93 women with type 2 diabetes, aged from 51 to 74, the research team noted that a group whose diet was enriched with extra flavonoids recorded a 3.4% reduced risk of suffering a heart attack in the next decade when compared to a group given a placebo.

Women with diabetes in that age range were picked because they’re a very high risk group for heart disease; deaths due to that cause increase rapidly after the menopause and having type 2 diabetes increases this risk by a further three-and-a-half times.


“These results are significant from a public health perspective because they provide further concrete evidence that diet has a beneficial clinical effect over and above conventional drug treatment,” said lead researcher Prof Aedin Cassidy of the Department of Nutrition, Norwich Medical School at UEA.

But before dashing off to stock up on bars of chocolate, be warned. The trial, published in the journal Diabetes Care, used only a specially formulated bar with flavonoid levels that are not commercially available. “We’re not saying that people with diabetes should be eating lots of chocolate – but that foods that are rich in flavonoids can potentially reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, which sadly remain the leading causes of premature death in this group of women,” added Dr Ketan Dhatariya, one of the Norwich research team.

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