Can Blueberries Whittle Your Waist?

Anyone who's seen Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory makes an association between blueberries and an expanding waistline. But recent research shows that Violet's favorite fruit has quite the opposite effect.

University of Michigan researchers provided overweight rats with a freeze-dried blueberry powder, making up two percent of their diet, and observed them for 90 days. They found that, even when the rest of the diet was high in fat, the rats were left with less abdominal fat. In rats whose blueberries were part of a low-fat diet, the effects were even greater, resulting in lower fat mass and lower body weight.

The study also shows blueberries may help with more than just weight loss. After three months, the rats had reduced cholesterol, triglycerides and liver mass, while showing improved insulin sensitivity-all good signs for fighting cardiovascular disease and diabetes.