Last updated on March 28th, 2015
This year, after adopting a low-carb way of eating, I’ve eaten more strawberries than ever before. That’s ironic since strawberries are sweet and sweet things are generally unwelcome when eating low-carb. But a half-dozen large strawberries have only about 35 calories and 6g net carbs (8 total carbs – 2 grams of fiber). Add some heavy cream, and you have a tasty, nutritious, low-carb dessert.
Now comes news that eating 37 strawberries a day could lessen the risk of complications from diabetes. This is the finding of a study conducted by the Salk Institute for Biological Studies Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory (CNL).
According to the press release, the benefits are thought to be provided by fisetin, a flavonol in strawberries. Flavonols are found in many fruits and vegetables, and have often been associated with reduced risk of serious illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
Eating 37 strawberries would give you around 38g net carbs. That’s about the number of carbs that many of us low-carbers get from all the food we eat in a day.
So Fisetin supplements seem like a better way to go. But before you lay in a supply, consider that CNL study was done on diabetic mice — specifically Akita mice with Type 1 diabetes. The mice given the fisetin dietary supplements exhibited improved kidney function and less anxious behavior: “A mouse not suffering with anxiety tends to move around when put in a large area, but a mouse suffering from anxiety does not move around. The diabetic mice showed anxiety behavior, but when fed fisetin their movement returned to normal.”
The researchers speculate that fisetin reduces advanced glycation end-products (AGEs)in the blood and brain. AGEs accumulate over time, and are associated with diabetes, heart disease and infirmities of old age. From my lay person perspective, reducing carbs in your diet would be another way to reduce AGEs, which are a by-product of high blood-sugar levels. That’s the impression I got from the discussion of AGEs in Wheatbelly, the recently published book by Dr. William Davis.
Will fisetin work as well for humans as for Akita mice? Nobody knows. More research is needed — namely, research using human beings instead of rodents.
In the meantime, I will go on eating strawberries, but not three-dozen at a time.