Drinking Red Wine Can Prevent Fat Formation

Just one more reason red vino is almost always a great idea.

An ingredient found in red wine and grapes may prevent weight gain. Photograph courtesy of Flickr user David Dugdale.

We’re already well aware of the health benefits of red wine. Resveratrol, a compound found in the drink, has been touted for its ability to combat diabetes, inflammation, and cancer and promote heart health. As it turns out, resveratol might not be wine’s only miracle-working ingredient. 

Researchers at Purdue University have identified another compound in red wine that is able to block fat cell formation in humans, a discovery that may lead to new methods of controlling obesity.

When ingested by humans, resveratrol is converted to a compound similar to itself called piceatannol. What researchers found was that piceatannol was able to delay the generation of new fat cells, a process that takes place over a ten-day period in an action called adipogenesis.

During adipogenesis, insulin controls the maturation of fat cells, converting early stage cells to mature fat cells, called adipocytes. Piceatannol, however, binds to insulin receptors, “blocking insulin’s ability to control the cell’s maturation,” lead researcher Kee-Hong Kim said in a video statement

Kim says the findings still need to be tested using an animal model of obesity. He wants to determine exactly how much piceatannol is needed to stop human weight gain. Remember, you’d have to drink more than 600 bottles of red wine to experience the full health benefits of resveratrol, so the same may go for piceatannol.

Fortunately, drinking wine isn’t the only way get these health benefits from piceatannol. The compound is also found in the skin and seeds of red grapes, and in blueberries and passionfruit.

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