Maple syrup may increase liver function

Sept. 13, 2011 at 11:56 PM
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TOKYO, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Feeding laboratory rats a diet in which some carbohydrate was replaced with pure maple syrup from Canada improved liver function, Japanese researchers say.

Dr. Keiko Abe of the University of Tokyo's Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences says healthy rats given 100 percent pure maple syrup had significantly better liver function compared to the control group that ate a similar sugar syrup, but without the beneficial compounds of maple syrup.

The Canadian Liver Foundation says more than 100 liver diseases affect approximately one out of 10 Canadian men, women and children. The diseases show up most often in middle aged people who are overweight, have abnormal blood lipids and diabetes or insulin resistance -- conditions that, when grouped together, are known as metabolic syndrome.

The findings -- scheduled to be published in the November issue of Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry -- suggest 100 percent pure maple syrup may prove to be a better choice of sweetener because it was found to be rich in polyphenolic antioxidants and contains vitamins and minerals.

The study was funded by the Conseil pour le developpement de l'agriculture du Quebec and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada on behalf of the Canadian Maple Syrup Industry and by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers.

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