Dietary flavonoid intake, especially berry flavonoids, has been associated with reduced risks of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in large prospective cohorts. Few clinical studies have examined the effects of dietary berries on CVD risk factors. We examined the hypothesis that freeze-dried strawberries (FDS) improve lipid and lipoprotein profiles and lower biomarkers of inflammation and lipid oxidation in adults with abdominal adiposity and elevated serum lipids. In a randomized dose-response controlled trial, 60 volunteers [5 men and 55 women; aged 49 ± 10 y; BMI: 36 ± 5 kg/m(2) (means ± SDs)] were assigned to consume 1 of the following 4 beverages for 12 wk: 1) low-dose FDS (LD-FDS; 25 g/d); 2) low-dose control (LD-C); 3) high-dose FDS (HD-FDS; 50 g/d); and 4) high-dose control (HD-C). Control beverages were matched for calories and total fiber. Blood draws, anthropometrics, blood pressure, and dietary data were collected at screening (0 wk) and after 12-wk intervention. Dose-response analyses revealed significantly greater decreases in serum total and LDL cholesterol and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)-derived small LDL particle concentration in HD-FDS [33 ± 6 mg/dL, 28 ± 7 mg/dL, and 301 ± 78 nmol/L, respectively (means ± SEMs)] vs. LD-FDS (-3 ± 11 mg/dL, -3 ± 9 mg/dL, and -28 ± 124 nmol/L, respectively) over 12 wk (0-12 wk; all P < 0.05). Compared with controls, only the decreases in total and LDL cholesterol in HD-FDS remained significant vs. HD-C (0.7 ± 12 and 1.4 ± 9 mg/dL, respectively) over 12 wk (0-12 wk; all P < 0.05). Both doses of strawberries showed a similar decrease in serum malondialdehyde at 12 wk (LD-FDS: 1.3 ± 0.2 μmol/L; HD-FDS: 1.2 ± 0.1 μmol/L) vs. controls (LD-C: 2.1 ± 0.2 μmol/L; HD-C: 2.3 ± 0.2 μmol/L) (P < 0.05). In general, strawberry intervention did not affect any measures of adiposity, blood pressure, glycemia, and serum concentrations of HDL cholesterol and triglycerides, C-reactive protein, and adhesion molecules. Thus, HD-FDS exerted greater effects in lowering serum total and LDL cholesterol and NMR-derived small LDL particles vs. LD-FDS in the 12-wk study. These findings warrant additional investigation in larger trials. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01883401.
© 2014 American Society for Nutrition.