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Fruits That May Help Fight Obesity

Brooke West, The Eagle, Bryan, Texas A recent study by Texas AgriLife Research revealed that peaches, plums and nectarines contain compounds that can potentially combat obesity and diabetes.

Jose Cisneros-Zevallos, an associate professor and researcher at Texas A&M, has been working with stone fruit -- fruits that have a fleshy outside and a seed inside -- for five years.

Though the fruits are linked to fighting off some chronic diseases, gorging oneself on them isn't something Cisneros's findings would suggest -- at least not yet.

In the first stage of his research on the project, Cisneros studied cell models that resemble certain scenarios -- for instance, the cellular makeup of an obese individual.

That stage allowed Cisneros to test compounds in the stone fruit, determine their mechanisms and, ultimately, understand their effect on the body.

His preliminary findings will be presented in August to the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia.

Though Cisneros still must test his findings on animals and hold clinical trials before his research is complete, he has found in the early stages of research that stone fruit can inhibit fat accumulation and chronic inflammation, a stage of obesity in which fat cells behave abnormally and negatively affect the body's reception of insulin.

"The diet in American society has a major role in triggering the inflammation process," Cisneros said. "But these stone fruits have huge potential of compounds working in different fronts."

Though his findings do not suggest that consuming stone fruits will reverse obesity and diabetes, "eating healthy is always good," Cisneros said. "Why not include some of these fruits?"

It is not yet clear what amount must be consumed to fight off obesity and diabetes, but Cisneros hopes to have that information after the clinical trials.

"There is an increase in all these types of chronic diseases. We want to create awareness that there has to be some changes in the way people are eating," Cisneros said. "It's nice to know and to learn that some of the fruits contain all these compounds that can help us stay healthy."

Mark Scarmardo, owner of The Farm Patch, a fresh produce market in Bryan, said he is always trying to promote products that are healthier for his customers, an effort he says the research can only help.

"Our generation and the new generation coming up want to eat healthier and live longer and have a better lifestyle," Scarmardo said. "With the research promoting it, it's right along with what you want to do."

(c)2012 The Eagle (Bryan, Texas)

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