Raise a toast to your waistline ladies! When your date asks you whether you want white wine or red over dinner, go for the color of love. A new study published in the January issue of the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry suggests that a certain chemical found in consuming a glass of red wine or eating dark-colored grapes, might help people better manage obesity and related metabolic disorders such as fatty liver and burn fat cells.
Neil Shay, a biochemist and molecular biologist in Oregon State University College of Agricultural Sciences, who is a part of the study team experimented on exposing human liver and fat cells to extracts of four different natural chemicals found in Muscadine grapes, a dark-red variety native to the southeastern United States.
One of the chemicals studied was Ellagic acid which was proven to be effective in significantly slowing down the growth of fat cells and keeping new ones from forming. This particular component was also found out to boost the breakdown of fatty acids in the liver. It is a known fact that burning fat in the liver leads to a better liver function in overweight people.
In the study, which Shay conducted together with his colleagues at the University of Florida and University of Nebraska, the scientists supplemented the diets of overweight mice with extracts of Pinot noir grapes harvested from Corvallis-area vineyards. Some of the mice were fed a normal diet of “mouse chow,” containing 10 percent fat. The rest of the mice were fed a diet of 60 percent fat – which is unhealthy diet that would pile excess pounds on a human body.
The grape extracts given to the mice were scaled down to a mouse’s nutritional needs, amounting to about the equivalent of one and a half cups of grapes a day for a person making it reasonable and applicable to the human diet.
On a 10-week trial, the high-fat fed mice had developed fatty liver and diabetic symptoms as compared to the normal-fed mice. This is the same metabolic problems seen in many overweight, sedentary people, as Shay claimed. Mice that were given with extracts of grapes build up less fat in their livers and had lower blood sugar as compared to those who were fed with high fat diet alone. Base on this, it can be concluded that Ellagic acid proved to be a significant powerhouse in this study, lowering the high-fat fed mice’s blood sugar to almost the levels of the normally fed mice.
However, the researchers warn consumers in thinking that red wine is the latest and greatest fat burning tool as this is just a preliminary research and that ellagic acid did not cause mice to lose weight. To add, no studies were done on humans. And to wrap things up, the team’s advice was to eat in moderation and eat a variety of foods. Wine included – and enjoys it occasionally.