A study conducted at USP (University of São Paulo) suggests that the bioactive compounds found in oranges help modulate blood sugar, which may make the fruit an ally in the fight against Diabetes. You found were published in the magazine Nutrition Clinic Espen.
The investigation was carried out by a team of For RC (Food Research Center of the University of São Paulo), a CEPIDE (Center for Research, Innovation and Dissemination) of FAPESP based in FCF-USP (Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences).
The participants were 12 healthy volunteers, of both sexes, who, after an overnight fast, ingested a meal rich in fats and carbohydrates, with 1,037 kcal. They were divided into three groups: one who drank only water during the meal, another who drank orange juice and a third who received a glucose-based drink with a carbohydrate content. equivalent to that of orange juice.
The blood sugar levels of the volunteers were analyzed one, three and five hours after the end of breakfast. In the first measurement, as expected, all three groups showed an increase in blood sugar.
Interestingly, the blood glucose (blood glucose level) and insulin (blood insulin level) values of the orange juice group did not differ significantly from those observed in the water group at all assessments.
“If orange juice consumption did not differ from water consumption, we can conclude that the carbohydrates in the juice did not promote a significant increase in blood sugar in our experimental model, contrary to what is shown. happened with the glucose-based drink,” says Bruna Jardim Quintanilha, doctoral student in nutrition at the Faculty of Public Health (FSP-USP) and first author of the article.
According to Quintanilha, this finding suggests that other components present in the juice, such as fiber and bioactive compounds, may have helped contain the rise in blood sugar levels.
The next step was to investigate how orange juice would have helped contain the rise in blood sugar. For this, the scientists took blood samples from the volunteers and analyzed the expression of so-called microRNAs, a type of RNA that has the function of regulating gene expression through interactions with the messenger RNA.
“We noticed that orange juice had a particular action on microRNA 375 or miR-375, which is a biomarker of pancreatic beta cell function,” explains Franco Lajolo, professor emeritus at FCF-USP and member of the FoRC.
As the researcher explains, beta cells are very numerous in the organ and are responsible for synthesizing and secreting insulin – a hormone that allows glucose to enter the cells.
The results therefore indicate that orange juice could have a beneficial effect on insulin production and, consequently, on glycemic modulation.
“Our results point to miR-375 as a possible responsible for this action, but this is something that still needs to be confirmed. Studies with diabetic patients are needed, for example, to understand exactly how this mechanism works,” explains Lajolo. .