British Journal of Nutrition

Human and Clinical Nutrition

Effects of dietary strawberry powder on blood lipids and inflammatory markers in obese human subjects

Susan J. Zuninoa1 c1, Mardi A. Parelmana2, Tammy L. Freytaga1, Charles B. Stephensena1, Darshan S. Kelleya1, Bruce E. Mackeya3, Leslie R. Woodhousea1 and Ellen L. Bonnela2

a1 United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Western Human Nutrition Research Center, 430 West Health Sciences Drive, Davis, CA 95616, USA

a2 Department of Nutrition, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA

a3 United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Pacific West Area, 800 Buchanan Street, Albany, CA 94710, USA


Obesity is a strong risk factor for the development of CVD, hypertension and type 2 diabetes. The overall goal of the present pilot study was to feed strawberries, in the form of freeze-dried powder, to obese subjects to determine whether dietary strawberries beneficially altered lipid profiles and reduced blood markers of inflammation compared with a control intervention. A total of twenty healthy subjects (thirteen females and seven males) aged between 20 and 50 years with a BMI between 30 and 40 kg/m2 completed the present 7-week double-blind, randomised, cross-over trial. Each subject received a prepared diet 7 d/week for 7 weeks consisting of approximately 35 % of energy from fat, 20 % protein, 45 % carbohydrate and 14 g fibre. Blood was collected on days 1 and 8 for baseline information. After the first week, subjects were randomly assigned to the strawberry powder (equivalent to four servings of frozen strawberries) or control (strawberry-flavoured) intervention for 3 weeks. For the remaining 3 weeks, subjects crossed over to the opposite intervention. Blood was collected again at the end of weeks 3, 4, 6 and 7. A comprehensive chemistry panel, lipid profile analyses and measurement of inflammatory mediators were performed for each blood draw. A 3-week dietary intervention with strawberry powder reduced plasma concentrations of cholesterol and small HDL-cholesterol particles, and increased LDL particle size in obese subjects (P < 0·05). Dietary strawberry powder reduced risk factors for CVD, stroke and diabetes in obese volunteers, suggesting a potential role for strawberries as a dietary means to decrease obesity-related disease.

(Received June 03 2011)

(Revised August 17 2011)

(Accepted October 08 2011)

(Online publication November 09 2011)


c1 Corresponding author: Dr S. J. Zunino, fax +1 530 752 5271, email


Abbreviations: CRP, C-reactive protein; ICAM, intercellular adhesion molecule; ICP-AES, inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry; ORAC, oxygen radical absorbance capacity; TAS, total antioxidant status; UCDMC, University of California Davis Medical Center; VCAM, vascular adhesion molecule