July 16/London/Metro -- The same compound which gives grapefruit its bitter taste could also help fight obesity and cut diabetes.
Naringenin makes the liver burn fat after a meal rather than store it, according to scientists. It means overweight people might be able to shed pounds without changing their diet.
The risk of diabetes could also be cut with a dose of naringenin because it helps balance insulin and glucose levels, it was claimed. The findings come from tests on two groups of mice who were given the same diet - but one set was fed doses of the flavonoid naringenin.
The non-naringenin mice became obese, their cholesterol levels increased and their bodies become resistant to insulin, while rodents given the chemical were fine.
"Furthermore, the marked obesity that develops in these mice was completely prevented by naringenin," said lead researcher Prof. Murray Huff, from the University of Western Ontario, Canada.
"What was unique about the study was that the effects were independent of caloric intake, meaning the mice ate exactly the same amount of food and the same amount of fat." However, he admitted that the tests used far higher doses of the compound than were found by eating grapefruit.
From the July 20, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition