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The anti-obesity effects of anthocyanin and carotenoid extracts from color-fleshed potatoes were studied by Korean researchers with 3T3-L1 cells in vitro and high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obese mice in vivo.

Treatment of 3T3-L1 adipocytes with anthocyanin and carotenoid extracts, respectively, after differentiation induction significantly inhibited fat accumulation by 63.1 and 83.5%. Studies of adipogenesis inhibition showed that the anthocyanin extract acts at intermediate stages, whereas the carotenoid extract influences all the stages. The extracts significantly diminished triglyceride (TG) content and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma) protein expression during adipogenesis of the intermediate stage. Oral administration of anthocyanin and carotenoid extracts, respectively, to HFD-fed mice significantly reduced weight gain and restored TG levels to normal or lower as compared to the HFD-fed group with improvement of a lipid profile, TG to HDL-C ratio. Histological differences in liver tissues revealed that the extracts protected the liver tissue from adipogenesis by HFD fed. This research presents the first direct demonstration that the two pigment extracts from sweet potato exhibit anti-obesity activities. Practical applications: Anthocyanins and carotenoids are the main pigments of purple-and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, respectively, which are highly nutritious foods with antidiabetic and antioxidant properties. Obesity is a rapidly growing health problem that increases major risk factors of several serious diseases including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer. 

The results of this research published in Journal of Food Biochemistry suggest that anthocyanin and carotenoid-rich extracts from color-fleshed sweet potatoes may be useful as supplementary ingredients for the treatment of obesity and related diseases. 

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