McCormick Science Institute

MSI Funded Study on the Metabolic Effects of a Spice Containing Meal

Skulas-Ray A, Kris-Etherton P, Teeter D, Chen O, Vanden Heuvel J and West S


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MSI Team

July 2011-- A small crossover study, funded by the McCormick Science Institute, looked at whether consuming a spice enhanced meal affected antioxidant and metabolic factors among 6 healthy, overweight men aged 60 to 65. View full paper.


The objective of this study was to examine whether adding 14 g of a high antioxidant spice blend to a 5060-kJ (1200 kcal) meal exerted significant postprandial (after meal) effects on markers of plasma antioxidant status and metabolism.


Six healthy, overweight men consumed a control and spiced meal in a randomized crossover design with 1 week between testing sessions. Spices included culinary amounts of black pepper, cinnamon, clove, garlic powder, ginger, oregano, paprika, rosemary and turmeric. Blood was sampled prior to the meal and at 30-minute intervals for 3.5 hours (total of 8 samples).


All participants consumed both the spiced and non-spiced meal. The meals were well tolerated (no incidence of gastrointestinal effects) and participants rated the control meal and spiced meals the same for fullness, satiety, enjoyment and flavors. There was a significant difference (P= .05) in blood insulin (21% decrease) and triglyceride (31% decrease) levels with the spiced meal as compared to the non-spiced meal over time. The spiced meal also significantly increased blood antioxidant levels for both ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP; P =0.009 ) and hydrophilic oxygen radical absorbance capacity (H-ORAC; P = 0.02). There were no treatment differences in glucose, total thiols, lipophilic ORAC, or total ORAC.


The incorporation of spices into the diet may help normalize postprandial insulin and triglycerides and enhance antioxidant defenses.


Skulas-Ray AC, Kris-Etherton PM, Teeter DL, Chen CY, Vanden Heuvel JP, West SG. A High Antioxidant Spice Blend Attenuates Postprandial Insulin and Triglyceride Responses and Increases Some Plasma Measures of Antioxidant Activity in Healthy, Overweight Men. J Nutr. 2011 Jun 22. View full paper.
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