Burning that excess fat may now be as simple as sipping on a glass of red wine, researchers reveal.
Latest research from the Oregon State University in the US recommends overweight people to eat dark-coloured grapes or drink its juice or wine in moderation to best manage obesity and medical conditions caused by it, particularly fatty liver.
During the study, the researchers tested human liver and fat cells grown in the lab in four different natural chemicals found in a grapevine species native to the southeastern United States called muscadine.
Of the four, ellagic acid slowed down growth of fat cells and also prevented new ones being formed.
Though the chemicals cannot help aid weight loss directly, they can help neutralise some adverse health outcomes associated with obesity, the authors said.
"We didn't find, and we didn't expect to, that these compounds would improve body weight," Neil Shay, a biochemist and molecular biologist in OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences, said in a news release. "If we could develop a dietary strategy for reducing the harmful accumulation of fat in the liver, using common foods like grapes, that would be good news."
The current findings support a mouse-model study conducted by Shay in 2013. The rodents were placed on a high-fat diet for more than two months. Some of the animals received grape extracts along with their diet.
By 10 weeks, the mice following a high-fat diet developed fatty liver and diabetes compared to the animals in the grapes extract group.
Researchers noticed that activity levels of two proteins responsible for metabolising fat and sugar in cells called PPAR-alpha and PPAR-gamma were greater in tissues of mice taking the grape extract.
The chemicals in grapes acted the same way as medications used to lower blood sugar. Various chemicals found in grapes, including ellagic acid bind to PPAR-alpha and PPAR-gamma nuclear hormone receptors and switch on the genes responsible for boosting metabolic function, the researchers while explaining the occurrence, said.
The study has been reported in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.
Red wine has also been found promising against head and neck cancer, tooth decay, retinal degeneration and memory loss. The drink is also known to boost memory and immune system.