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Red Wine May Help You Burn Fat: Dark-Colored Grapes Manage Obesity

First Posted: Feb 07, 2015 07:45 AM EST

Could wine help you burn fat better? That may be the case, according to new research. Scientists have found that consuming dark-colored grapes, whether eating them or drinking juice or wine, may help people better manage obesity and related metabolic disorders such as fatty liver.

In this latest study, the researchers exposed human liver and fat cells grown in the lab to extracts of four natural chemicals found in Muscadine grapes, a dark-red variety that's native to the southeastern United States. The scientists found that one of the chemicals, ellagic acid, was particularly potent. In fact, it dramatically slowed the growth of existing fat cells and the formation of new ones. It also boosted the metabolism of fatty acids in liver cells.

That doesn't mean that you should start drinking red wine to excess or eating a lot of grapes, though.

"We didn't find, and we didn't expect to, that these compounds would improve body weight," said Neil Shay, one of the researchers, in a news release.

That said, the latest findings do provide a possible strategy for the future of combating obesity.

"If we could develop a dietary strategy for reducing harmful accumulation of in the liver, using common food like grapes, that would be good news," said Shay.

The goal of this latest study is not to replace medications, but is to guide people in choosing common, widely available foods that have particular health benefits, including boosting metabolic function. This could help people choose to eat healthier; if a particular kind of fruit is good for a health condition, patients can choose to buy that fruit to eat as part of a healthy diet.

The findings are published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

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