Strong and Bitter Vegetables from Traditional Cultivars and Cropping Methods Improve the Health Status of Type 2 Diabetics: A Randomized Control Trial

Anne Cathrine Sønderstgaard Thorup, Hanne Lakkenborg Kristensen, Ulla Kidmose, Max Norman Tandrup Lambert, Lars Porskjær Christensen, Xavier Fretté, Morten Rahr Clausen, Steen Møller Hansen, Per Bendix Jeppesen*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Vegetables rich in bitter-tasting phytochemicals may exert enhanced beneficial effects against key factors associated with type two diabetes (T2D). This study investigates whether selected cultivars of bitter and strong-tasting (BST) Brassica and root vegetables exert greater health benefits on T2D patients compared to equivalent modern mild and sweet tasting (MST) vegetables. A 12-week randomized, controlled, parallel intervention study involved 92 T2D patients, who were allocated three different diets: (1) 500 g daily of bitter and strong-tasting (BST) vegetables; (2) 500 g daily of mild and sweet-tasting (MST) vegetables; (3) 120 g daily MST normal diet (control). Both vegetable diets contained root vegetables and cabbages selected based on sensory differences and content of phytochemicals. Prior to and after the study, all participants underwent an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), 24 h blood pressure measurements, DEXA scans, and fasted blood samples. Both diets high in vegetables significantly reduced the participants’ BMI, total body fat mass, and HbA1c levels compared to control, but in the BST group, significant differences were also found regarding incremental area under the curve glucose 240 min (OGTT) and fasting glucose levels. A high daily intake of root vegetables and cabbages showed significant health improvements in both vegetable groups. BST vegetables had the greatest impact on insulin sensitivity, body fat mass, and blood pressure compared to control; moreover, they further improved glycemic control compared to MST vegetables.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1813
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

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