- Many of the foods served during the holiday season are unhealthy
- Watermelon may help in countering the effects of an unhealthy diet
- Researchers observed that mice on a high-fat diet and given watermelon supplements had significantly better bl0od glucose levels
Many people can’t resist the temptation of foods served during the holiday season. Unfortunately, many of the high fat and sugary foods served during the festivities do not fall under the category of healthy.
Findings of a new study, however, suggest that a tropical fruit could help those who like to pig out especially on holidays. Researchers from Oregon State University found that watermelon may actually be beneficial in countering the effects of an unhealthy diet.
In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition in Nov. 2017, Neil Shay, professor of food science at OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences, and colleagues fed lab mice either a low-fat or high-fat diet over a period of 10 weeks.
The researchers found that the mice that were fed a high-fat diet and given watermelon supplements in the form of a powder equivalent to one and a half human servings per day had significantly better blood glucose levels compared with mice on the high-fat-only diet.
Elevated blood-glucose level is an indicator of type 2 di
abetes. The lifestyle-associated condition is characterized by the body not properly producing insulin, the hormone that turns food into energy.
“Even though the two groups of mice were eating the same amount of fat and sugar, that consumption of 1½ servings of watermelon flesh or 2% of high-fiber rind or skin products had significant effects,” Shay said.
The researchers also observed an increase in beneficial bacteria among the laboratory animals given the watermelon powder supplements.
“At a modest level of supplementation to an HF diet, fiber-rich additives made from WR and WS further improved glucose metabolism and energy efficiency and shifted the microbiome composition,” Shay and colleagues wrote in their study.
The researchers said that a significant step in the research would be to conduct a human clinical study.