Could red wine be a fat zapper in a bottle? In a study published in this week’s issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, researchers from Purdue University say they’ve found a compound in red wine, grapes, blueberries and passion fruit that blocks immature fat cells’ ability to develop and grow.
Similar in structure to resveratrol –- the compound vaunted as the heart-healthy agent in red wine -- piceatannol is also thought to help protect the body against cancer, heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases. Resveratrol is converted to piceatannol in humans after consumption.
But piceatannol could also play an important role in controlling obesity, researchers say, after finding that the compound acted as a fat blaster in young cells.
"Piceatannol actually alters the timing of gene expressions, gene functions and insulin action during adipogenesis, the process in which early stage fat cells become mature fat cells," said lead researcher Kee-Hong Kim. "In the presence of piceatannol, you can see delay or complete inhibition of adipogenesis."
In other words, the compound blocks the pathways necessary for immature fat cells to mature and grow.
Piceatannol can also be found in red grape seeds and skin, blueberries and passion fruit.
Earlier this year, a study published in the Journal of Women’s Health also found that drinking red wine in moderation may reduce the risk for breast cancer. The results prompted researchers to advise women to consider swapping their glass of white for the health benefits of red.