A group of researchers report that citrus fruit could help prevent some of the harmful effects of obesity, following the findings of a study that fed mice a Western-style, high-fat diet along with a variety of the citrus flavanones – either hesperidin, eriocitrin or eriodictyol – for one month.
The high-fat diet without the flavanones increased the levels of cell-damage markers called thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) by 80% in the blood and 57% in the liver, compared to mice on a standard diet. However, hesperidin, eriocitrin and eriodictyol decreased the TBARS levels in the liver by 50%, 57% and 64%, respectively, compared with mice fed a high-fat diet but not given flavanones. Based on the findings, the researchers, who presented their findings at the 252nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), explained that citrus flavanones, a class of antioxidants, could prevent or delay obesity-related chronic diseases. “Our results indicate that in the future we can use citrus flavanones to prevent or delay chronic diseases caused by obesity in humans,” said Paula S. Ferreira, a graduate student with the research team at the Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP) in Brazil.