Obesity is a strong risk factor for the development of CVD, hypertension and type 2 diabetes. The overall goal of the present pilot study was to feed strawberries, in the form of freeze-dried powder, to obese subjects to determine whether dietary strawberries beneficially altered lipid profiles and reduced blood markers of inflammation compared with a control intervention. A total of twenty healthy subjects (thirteen females and seven males) aged between 20 and 50 years with a BMI between 30 and 40 kg/m2 completed the present 7-week double-blind, randomised, cross-over trial. Each subject received a prepared diet 7 d/week for 7 weeks consisting of approximately 35 % of energy from fat, 20 % protein, 45 % carbohydrate and 14 g fibre. Blood was collected on days 1 and 8 for baseline information. After the first week, subjects were randomly assigned to the strawberry powder (equivalent to four servings of frozen strawberries) or control (strawberry-flavoured) intervention for 3 weeks. For the remaining 3 weeks, subjects crossed over to the opposite intervention. Blood was collected again at the end of weeks 3, 4, 6 and 7. A comprehensive chemistry panel, lipid profile analyses and measurement of inflammatory mediators were performed for each blood draw. A 3-week dietary intervention with strawberry powder reduced plasma concentrations of cholesterol and small HDL-cholesterol particles, and increased LDL particle size in obese subjects (P < 0·05). Dietary strawberry powder reduced risk factors for CVD, stroke and diabetes in obese volunteers, suggesting a potential role for strawberries as a dietary means to decrease obesity-related disease.
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