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Drinking green tea with starchy food may help lower blood sugar spikes
Date:11/9/2012

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- An ingredient in green tea that helps reduce blood sugar spikes in mice may lead to new diet strategies for people, according to Penn State food scientists.

Mice fed an antioxidant found in green tea -- epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or EGCG -- and corn starch had a significant reduction in increase in their blood sugar -- blood glucose -- levels compared to mice that were not fed the compound, according to Joshua Lambert, assistant professor of food science in agricultural sciences.

"The spike in blood glucose level is about 50 percent lower than the increase in the blood glucose level of mice that were not fed EGCG," Lambert said.

The dose of EGCG fed to the mice was equivalent to about one and a half cups of green tea for a human.

Lambert, who worked with Sarah C. Forester, postdoctoral fellow, and Yeyi Gu, graduate student, both in food science, said EGCG was most effective when the compound was fed to the mice simultaneously with corn starch. For humans, this may mean that green tea could help them control the typical blood sugar increases that are brought on when they eat starchy foods, like breads and bagels that are often a part of typical breakfasts.

"If what you are eating with your tea has starch in it then you might see that beneficial effect," Lambert said. "So, for example, if you have green tea with your bagel for breakfast, it may reduce the spike in blood glucose levels that you would normally get from that food."

The EGCG had no significant effect on blood sugar spikes in mice that were fed glucose or maltose, according to the researchers who released their findings in the online version of Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. Lambert said that the reason blood sugar spikes are reduced when the mice ate starch, but not these sugars, may be related to the way the body converts starch into sugar.

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Contact: Matthew Swayne
mls29@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert

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