Impact of dietary polyphenols on carbohydrate metabolism

Kati Hanhineva (Corresponding Author), Riitta Törrönen, Isabel Bondia-Pons, Jenna Pekkinen, Marjukka Kolehmainen, Hannu Mykkänen, Kaisa Poutanen

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

    870 Citations (Scopus)


    Polyphenols, including flavonoids, phenolic acids, proanthocyanidins and resveratrol, are a large and heterogeneous group of phytochemicals in plant-based foods, such as tea, coffee, wine, cocoa, cereal grains, soy, fruits and berries. Growing evidence indicates that various dietary polyphenols may influence carbohydrate metabolism at many levels. In animal models and a limited number of human studies carried out so far, polyphenols and foods or beverages rich in polyphenols have attenuated postprandial glycemic responses and fasting hyperglycemia, and improved acute insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity. The possible mechanisms include inhibition of carbohydrate digestion and glucose absorption in the intestine, stimulation of insulin secretion from the pancreatic b-cells, modulation of glucose release from the liver, activation of insulin receptors and glucose uptake in the insulin-sensitive tissues, and modulation of intracellular signalling pathways and gene expression. The positive effects of polyphenols on glucose homeostasis observed in a large number of in vitro and animal models are supported by epidemiological evidence on polyphenol-rich diets. To confirm the implications of polyphenol consumption for prevention of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and eventually type 2 diabetes, human trials with well-defined diets, controlled study designs and clinically relevant end-points together with holistic approaches e.g., systems biology profiling technologies are needed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1365-1402
    Number of pages38
    JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2010
    MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


    • Diet
    • Glucose metabolism
    • Glycemic response
    • Insulin sensitivity
    • Phenolic compounds
    • Phytochemical
    • Polyphenols


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