Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Food Science and Human Nutrition


Mary Ellen Camire

Second Committee Member

Alfred Bushway

Third Committee Member

Richard Cook


The incidence of Type 2 diabetes is increasing in the United States and other nations. Low intake of fruits and vegetables is a risk factor for the development of this disease. Anthocyanins are the flavonoid pigments in red and blue fruits that contribute to antioxidant activity. These pigments modulate alpha-glucosidase and aldose reductase activity and insulin production in vitro, suggesting that foods containing anthocyanins may ameliorate risks for development of type 2 diabetes. Eighteen subjects in the Bangor, Maine area with pre-diabetes (fasting blood glucose levels between 5.6-6.9mmol/L), between the ages of 21-65 years and having a BMI of 25-30 kg/m were recruited for this 12 week study. The objective of this study was to demonstrate potential health benefits associated with the consumption of fruits containing anthocyanins for individuals at risk of developing diabetes. Subjects were paired by gender, age and fasting glucose levels. Each member of the pair was randomly assigned to the control or treatment group. The control group was instructed to make no changes in their dietary or exercise habits and to limit consumption of anthocyanin-containing fruits to no more than 3 servings per week. The treatment group was provided with a list of servings sizes for common fruits and juices containing approximately 150mg anthocyanins; two servings were to be consumed daily for three months. Fasting serum glucose, insulin, cholesterol, triglycerides, glycated protein, and urinary microalbumin were measured at baseline and at 4, 8 and 12 weeks of the study. Weight, BMI, waist circumference, and blood pressure were also recorded. There were no significant improvements seen in blood glucose levels, insulin, fructosamine, HDL, LDL, triglycerides, and microalbumin levels when subjects were compared by treatment. Three day food records indicated that the participants did consume the appropriate fruits containing anthocyanins during the entire study. More research needs to be conducted in this area to evaluate which effects anthocyanins have on diabetes, and the optimal dose for efficacy. The University of Maine Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects approved the study design and protocols. Financial support was provided by the Gustavus and Louise Pfeiffer Research Foundation.