Michigan State University researchers have reported that chemicals found in cherries may help fight diabetes. The researchers, writing in the Jan. 5 issue of the American Chemical Society's Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, said a group of naturally occurring chemicals found in abundance in cherries could help lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Lab tests using animal pancreatic cells showed the chemicals, called anthocyanins, increased insulin production by 50 percent. Anthocyanins are a class of plant pigments responsible for the color of many fruits, including cherries. Anthocyanins also are potent antioxidants -- chemicals increasingly associated with a variety of health benefits, including protection against heart disease and cancer. The researchers said the compounds show promise for both prevention of type 2 or non-insulin-dependent diabetes, the most common type, and for helping control glucose levels in those who already have diabetes.