(RxWiki News) While margaritas and mojitos are a surefire way to add ridiculous amounts of calories to your diet, having a glass of red wine may be a way to offset weight gain.
A recent study reveals that red wine, grapes and other fruits contain an ingredient that may prevent the development of fat cells by blocking certain actions of cells.
"Only enjoy alcohol in moderation."
Kee-Hong Kim, Ph.D, a food science professor at Purdue University, and his graduate student Jung Yeon Kwon, have discovered that the compound piceatannol can stunt the growth and development of a young fat cell.
Piceatannol is chemically similar to a better known ingredient in red wine, grape and peanuts called resveratrol, which is thought by many researchers to be related to some of the health benefits that have been associated with drinking red wine.
In fact, after humans consume resveratrol, it morphs into piceatannol.
While resveratrol has been linked to a range of possible health benefits, such as cardiovascular benefits, potential protection against cancer and reduced inflammation, nearly all the studies on this compound have been conducted on animals and have not provided useable information about the compound's effects in humans.
Young fat cells go through multiple stages before they become full-fledged mature fat cells, and Kim was hoping to learn how that development might be slowed or prevented to help prevent obesity.
His experiments revealed that piceatannol can act on the parts of a fat cell that control whether its genes are activated to make the cell mature. Piceatannol basically blocks the process.
Piceatannol can be found in varying amounts in red grape seeds, grape skin, blueberries, passion fruit and other fruits.
Because this research involved experiments in the lab with cell cultures, the conclusions are too removed from human experience to know for certain how much - if at all - the compound piceatannol can help humans slow down fat cell production.
Kim is planning future studies where he can test piceatannol's impact on animals.
The study appeared in this week's issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The research was funded by the Purdue Research Foundation.