Fruits and Vegetables Counter Negative Effects of Fats

Brightly colored fruits and vegetables rich in polyphenols help counter the negative effects of high fat food.

Meal planning often presents a dilemma in HD families. Many people with Huntington's Disease need extra calories to maintain their weight. Adding high fat foods will add to the calorie count but also raises concerns about healthy eating.

The study below shows that a meal that is high in polyphenols will help counter the unhealthy effects of high fat foods. Polyphenols are chemicals found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, cherries, cranberries, canteloupes, and broccoli. They are also found in red wine, green tea, and chocolate.

Including fruits and vegetables rich in polyphenols may present a good strategy for families who need to add calories but avoid the negative effects of unhealthy eating. Add blueberry juice to those ice cream shakes!

Marsha L. Miller, Ph.D.
A novel function of red wine polyphenols in humans: prevention of absorption of cytotoxic lipid peroxidation products
Shlomit Gorelik, Moshe Ligumsky, Ron Kohen,and Joseph Kanner
New discovery could reduce the health risk of high-fat foods

Chemical in red wine, fruits and vegetables counters unhealthy effects of high-fat foods

Just as additives help gasoline burn cleaner, a research report published in the January 2008 print issue of The FASEB Journal shows that the food industry could take a similar approach toward reducing health risks associated with fatty foods. These “meal additives” would be based on work of Israeli researchers who discovered that consuming polyphenols (natural compounds in red wine, fruits, and vegetables) simultaneously with high-fat foods may reduce health risks associated with these foods.

“We suggest a new hypothesis to explain polyphenols,” said Joseph Kanner, senior author of the report. “For the first time, these compounds were demonstrated to prevent significantly the appearance of toxic food derivative compounds in human plasma.”

For the study, six men and four women were fed three different meals consisting of dark meat turkey cutlets. One meal, the control, consisted of turkey meat and water. The second meal consisted of turkey meat with polyphenols added after cooking (one tablespoon of concentrated wine) followed with a glass of red wine (about 7 ounces). The third meal consisted of turkey meat with polyphenols added before cooking and then followed by a glass of wine.

At various points during the study, researchers took blood and urine samples to measure levels of malondialdehyde (MDA), a natural byproduct of fat digestion known to increase the risk for heart disease and other chronic conditions. The researchers found that MDA levels nearly quintupled after the control meal, while MDA was nearly eliminated after subjects consumed the meals with polyphenols.

“As long as deep fried candy bars are on menus, scientists will need to keep serving up new ways to prevent the cellular damage caused by these very tasty treats,” said Gerald Weissmann, MD, Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “This study suggests that the time will come where people can eat french fries without plugging their arteries.”


Current evidence supports a contribution of polyphenols to the prevention of cardiovascular disease, but their mechanisms of action are not understood. We investigated the impact of red wine polyphenols on postprandial cytotoxic lipid peroxidation products (MDA) levels in humans. In a randomized, crossover study, the effect of red wine polyphenols on postprandial levels of plasma and urine MDA was investigated. Three meals of 250 g turkey cutlets supplemented by water (A); soaked in red wine after heating plus 200 ml of red wine (B); or soaked in red wine prior to heating plus 200 ml of red wine (C) were administered to 10 healthy volunteers. Subject baseline plasma levels of MDA were 50 ? 20 nM. After a meal of turkey meat cutlets, plasma MDA levels increased by 160 nM (P<0.0001); after (B) there was a 75% reduction in the absorption of MDA (P<0.0001). However, after (C), the elevation of plasma MDA was completely prevented (P<0.0001). Similar results were obtained for MDA accumulation in urine. Our study suggests that red wine polyphenols exert a beneficial effect by the novel new function, absorption inhibition of the lipotoxin MDA. These findings explain the potentially harmful effects of oxidized fats found in foods and the important benefit of dietary polyphenols in the meal.

The FASEB Journal 2008;22:41-46.