Daily Strawberry Consumption Tied to Improved Insulin Resistance, Study Finds

family with strawberries

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Key Takeaways

  • Eating the equivalent of 2 1/2 cups of strawberries per day for 4 weeks resulted in a significant reduction in both serum insulin levels and insulin resistance.
  • Borderline significant improvements were made in increasing the particle size of HD cholesterol and decreasing that of small particle LDL cholesterol.
  • While the study sample was small (33 participants), experts agree that daily consumption of strawberries can improve health outcomes.

Although overall consumption of fruits and vegetables is declining in the U.S., strawberries are still among the top five favorites for Americans. But consuming this bright red fruit on a regular basis may be more beneficial than just increasing your fruit and vegetable intake.

Aside from being rich in vitamins and nutrients, new research suggests that regularly consuming strawberries also may improve insulin resistance. In fact, according to a study published in Nutrients, strawberry consumption decreased inflammation, insulin resistance, and the density of lipid particles in the blood.

About the Study

Thirty-three adults who met the criteria of presenting with at least one feature of metabolic syndrome—such as having obesity, abdominal adiposity based on waist circumference, or elevated LDL cholesterol levels—participated in a randomized controlled crossover study over the course of 14 weeks.

Carrie Moody, RD

While you may have heard to avoid fruit because it contains carbs or it can spike your blood sugar levels, strawberries have a low glycemic index.

— Carrie Moody, RD

Participants were assigned to either a control group, low-dose strawberry group (the equivalent of one serving), or high-dose strawberry group (the equivalent of 2 1/2 servings). Those in the strawberry groups ingested freeze-dried strawberry powder as a beverage. Participants were seen on a bi-weekly basis by a registered dietitian to submit food logs. Compliance with the protocol was based on the return of any unused strawberry powder.

The study found a significant reduction in both serum insulin and serum resistance with the high-dose strawberry protocol. The same protocol also elicited a borderline significant difference in lowering LDL cholesterol levels.

"Strawberries are full of essential nutrients—fiber, folate, vitamin c, and manganese," says registered dietitian Carrie Moody, RD. "While you may have heard to avoid fruit because it contains carbs or it can spike your blood sugar levels, strawberries have a low glycemic index."

What The Experts Say

Strawberries are rich in polyphenol, a compound found in plants as well as anthocyanin, which numerous studies suggest plays a role in the prevention of chronic disease. Strawberries also boast a low glycemic index and are relatively low in sugar. For those with diabetes or who are interested in weight management, including a 2 1/2 cup serving of strawberries may be especially beneficial.

"Strawberries are very nutritious and a favorite among many, particularly those who are looking to lose weight," says Diana Rodriguez, MS, RD, CDN based in New York City. "Strawberries are low-calorie, and 2 1/2 cups of strawberries contain about 7.5 grams of fiber, specifically soluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps absorb water and forms a gel-like substance in the digestive system, slowing down the stomach’s emptying, thus increasing the feeling of fullness while helping regulate appetite." 

Additionally, Rodriguez notes that studies suggest that consuming a higher amount of fruit could be associated with a lower risk of weight gain over time. If the idea of scarfing down two and a half cups of strawberries in one sitting seems a bit much, keep in mind that the berries used in the study were freeze-dried.

Diana Rodriguez, MS, RD, CDN

Strawberries are a great snack option that can quickly satisfy your sweet tooth.

— Diana Rodriguez, MS, RD, CDN

And because all forms of produce count toward your daily goal, this is a great option that is readily available year-round to those who find it more appealing. You can include them as part of an overall balanced snack, as a topping for yogurt alongside nuts, or even blended into a smoothie. Still, it is important to consider balance—no matter how nutrient-dense food is—says registered dietitian Carrie Moody, RDN.

"Strawberries are a great fruit option that will not significantly raise your blood sugar levels," says Moody. "It’s always a good idea to pair strawberries with a source of protein [or] a healthy fat to further curb a spike in blood sugar."

Although a difference in glucose and conventional lipid profiles did not change in any arm of the study, the strawberries lowered insulin resistance, improved lipid particle profiles, and decreased levels of an inflammation biomarker in the blood.

"Strawberries are a great snack option that can quickly satisfy your sweet tooth and help support weight loss," advises Rodriguez.

What This Means for You

If you have been fearing fruit, take heed. Not only are fruits a nutrient-dense option, but they also have the potential to improve a variety of biomarkers and aid in weight management. Strawberries in any form—fresh, frozen, or freeze-dried—can be included in an overall balanced eating plan. Talk to a registered dietitian about how best to incorporate strawberries into your eating plan.

4 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. PBH Foundation. State of the plate.

  2. Basu A, Izuora K, Betts NM, et al. Dietary strawberries improve cardiometabolic risks in adults with obesity and elevated serum LDL cholesterol in a randomized controlled crossover trialNutrients. 2021;13(5):1421. doi:10.3390/nu13051421

  3. Forbes-Hernandez TY, Gasparrini M, Afrin S, et al. The healthy effects of strawberry polyphenols: which strategy behind antioxidant capacityCritical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 2016;56(sup1):S46-S59. doi:10.1080/10408398.2015.1051919

  4. Slavin JL, Lloyd B. Health benefits of fruits and vegetables. Adv Nutr. 2012 Jul 1;3(4):506-16. doi:10.3945/an.112.002154

By Nicole Rodriguez, RDN, NASM-CPT
Nicole Rodriguez, registered dietitian and certified personal trainer, resides in the metro New York area, where she offers nutrition counseling and fitness coaching to a diverse clientele. A consultant to the National Cattleman’s Beef Association and New York Beef Council, she’s on the eternal quest for the best burger. Nicole proudly serves on the Bayer L.E.A.D. (leaders engaged in advancing dialogue) network, and as a partner in kind with the Produce For Better Health Foundation. Eager to inspire the next generation of bold, active, and compassionate entrepreneurs, Nicole serves as leader of her daughter’s Girl Scout troop. In her spare time, you’ll find her browsing the grocery store aisles and working on her deadlift technique.