PURPOSE: (Poly)phenols have been reported to confer protective effects against type 2 diabetes but the precise association remains elusive. This meta-analysis aimed to assess the effects of (poly)phenol intake on well-established biomarkers in people with type 2 diabetes or at risk of developing diabetes.

METHODS: A systematic search was conducted using the following selection criteria: (1) human randomized controlled trials involving individuals with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes; (2) one or more of the following biomarkers: glucose, glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), insulin, pro-insulin, homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP)/amylin, pro-IAPP/pro-amylin, glucagon, C-peptide; (3) chronic intervention with pure or enriched mixtures of (poly)phenols. From 488 references, 88 were assessed for eligibility; data were extracted from 27 studies and 20 were used for meta-analysis. The groups included in the meta-analysis were: (poly)phenol mixtures, isoflavones, flavanols, anthocyanins and resveratrol.

RESULTS: Estimated intervention/control mean differences evidenced that, overall, the consumption of (poly)phenols contributed to reduced fasting glucose levels (- 3.32 mg/dL; 95% CI - 5.86, - 0.77; P = 0.011). Hb1Ac was only slightly reduced (- 0.24%; 95% CI - 0.43, - 0.044; P = 0.016) whereas the levels of insulin and HOMA-IR were not altered. Subgroup comparative analyses indicated a stronger effect on blood glucose in individuals with diabetes (- 5.86 mg/dL, 95% CI - 11.34, - 0.39; P = 0.036) and this effect was even stronger in individuals taking anti-diabetic medication (- 10.17 mg/dL, 95% CI - 16.59, - 3.75; P = 0.002).

CONCLUSIONS: Our results support that the consumption of (poly)phenols may contribute to lower glucose levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes or at risk of diabetes and that these compounds may also act in combination with anti-diabetic drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1329-1343
Number of pages15
Issue number4
Early online date12 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • Antidiabetic therapy
  • Diabetes
  • Glucose
  • Hb1Ac
  • Insulin
  • Polyphenol


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