British Journal of Nutrition

Metabolism and Metabolic Studies

Postprandial glucose, insulin and glucagon-like peptide 1 responses to sucrose ingested with berries in healthy subjects

Riitta Törrönena1 c1, Essi Sarkkinena2, Tarja Niskanena2, Niina Tapolaa2, Kyllikki Kilpia3 and Leo Niskanena4a5

a1 Department of Clinical Nutrition, Food and Health Research Centre, Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, University of Eastern Finland, PO Box 1627, FI-70211 Kuopio, Finland

a2 Foodfiles Limited, Kuopio, Finland

a3 Finnsugar Limited, Kantvik, Finland

a4 Department of Internal Medicine, Central Hospital of Central Finland, Jyväskylä, Finland

a5 Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland


Berries are often consumed with sucrose. They are also rich sources of polyphenols which may modulate glycaemia after carbohydrate ingestion. The present study investigated the postprandial glucose, insulin and glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) responses to sucrose ingested with berries, in comparison with a similar sucrose load without berries. A total of twelve healthy subjects were recruited to a randomised, single-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study. They participated in two meal tests on separate days. The berry meal was a purée (150 g) made of bilberries, blackcurrants, cranberries and strawberries with 35 g sucrose. The control meal included the same amount of sucrose and available carbohydrates in water. Fingertip capillary and venous blood samples were taken at baseline and at 15, 30, 45, 60, 90 and 120 min after starting to eat the meal. Glucose, insulin and GLP-1 concentrations were determined from the venous samples, and glucose also from the capillary samples. Compared to the control meal, ingestion of the berry meal resulted in lower capillary and venous plasma glucose and serum insulin concentrations at 15 min (P = 0·021, P < 0·007 and P = 0·028, respectively), in higher concentrations at 90 min (P = 0·028, P = 0·021 and P = 0·042, respectively), and in a modest effect on the GLP-1 response (P = 0·05). It also reduced the maximum increases of capillary and venous glucose and insulin concentrations (P = 0·009, P = 0·011 and P = 0·005, respectively), and improved the glycaemic profile (P < 0·001 and P = 0·003 for capillary and venous samples, respectively). These results suggest that the glycaemic control after ingestion of sucrose can be improved by simultaneous consumption of berries.

(Received December 01 2010)

(Revised June 06 2011)

(Accepted July 15 2011)

(Online publication September 20 2011)


c1 Corresponding author: Dr R. Törrönen, fax +358 17 162792, email


Abbreviations: AUC, area under the curve; CPIR, cephalic phase insulin release; GLP-1, glucagon-like peptide 1