Washington, June 17 : A glass of red wine a day not only helps keep the heart healthy, but as it turns out, it can also help battle obesity.
And if you are a teetotaller who would rather stay away from spirits, don't fret because just eating grapes will also have the same effect.
As it turns out, the thing responsible for this fat fighting phenomenon is resveratrol, a compound present in grapes and red wine, according to a new study.
Researchers at the University of Ulm in Germany carried out a study to see whether past research of resveratrol protecting laboratory mice from the health problems of obesity, also applied to humans by changing the size or function of fat cells.
The German team used a strain of human fat cell precursors, called preadipocytes, which develop into mature fat cells.
They found that resveratrol not only inhibited the pre-fat cells from increasing and prevented them from converting into mature fat cells, but that it also hindered fat storage.
What especially interested the boffins was that resveratrol reduced production of certain cytokines (interleukins 6 and 8), substances that may be linked to the development of obesity-related disorders, such as diabetes and clogged coronary arteries.
"Resveratrol has anti-obesity properties by exerting its effects directly on the fat cells. Thus, resveratrol might help to prevent development of obesity or might be suited to treating obesity," said the study's lead author, Pamela Fischer-Posovszky, PhD, a pediatric endocrinology research fellow in the university's Diabetes and Obesity Unit.
The results will be presented at The Endocrine Society's 90th Annual Meeting in San Francisco.