There may be some good news for individuals who battle to burn fat around the lower abdominals. According to researchers at Hokkaido University, by consuming a hefty portion of Aronia berries every day, you may be able to decrease fat reserves, especially in the abdomen area, and increase muscle mass. These results were seen in an animal study they published in the Journal of Oleo Science.

Compounds that improve body composition by increasing muscle mass while burning fat are growing in research popularity and for good reason. Body recomposition compounds include substances like carnosic acid, L-citrulline, and ursolic acid; and now, according to the Japanese study, Aronia berries may do the same. The study was performed by feeding rats a diet which contained added fat and sugar for a period of four weeks. This high-calorie diet caused the rats to gain weight. The researchers then split the rats into two groups. One group was given bilberry extract and the other group was given Aronia berries with their food. The dose given to the rats in human terms would be roughly 2300mg of the extract per day or 100g if you were to eat dried Aronia berries.

The main phenols, which are thought to be responsible for the mechanisms behind the effectiveness of the Aronia berries, found in Aronia extract arecyanidin-3-galactoside, cyanidin-3-arabinoside and cyanidin-3-glucoside while the main phenols found in bilberries are cyanidin-3-glucoside, cyanidin-3-arabinoside, and pelargonidin-3-glucoside. From their study, the Japanese researchers found no effect on weight gain or the amount of food the rats ate. The bilberry extract Aronia Berries had no effect on the circumference of the visceral fat deposits; however, the rats that had consumed Aronia berries had less visceral fat than the bilberry rats.

The Aronia berries also lowered LDL cholesterol and glucose levels in the rats.

Because the Aronia berries had no effect on weight gain but did help to decrease fat reserves, it means that the rats must have also increased lean muscle mass. The researchers suspect that Aronia inhibits the body’s uptake of fat from food. They drew this conclusion from an in-vitro study in which Aronia phenols interrupted the lipase enzymes that are necessary for fat to be absorbed in the gut. Another theory is that because of the increase in insulin sensitivity induced by the Aronia, cells are able to absorb more nutrients from the blood, resulting in fewer nutrients entering fat cells. Either way, if these results are applicable to humans, you may be able to blast belly fat while increasing lean muscle mass.

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