In the lastest wave of red wine health news, a study from Purdue University may explain the phenomenon of thin French women who always drink wine (if the book didn't do it for you).
Researcher Kee-Hong Kim, an assistant professor in food science at Purdue, led a study that showed red wine could potentially inhibit the formation of fat cells.
How it works? Resveratrol, the often-exalted "health" compound in wine, turns into piceatannol when consumed, which in turn effectively stops fat cells from maturing.
Kim found that piceatannol would bind to the receptors of immature fat cells during the first stage of adipogenesis, or fat cell formation, thus blocking the cell's ability to mature. This could delay the formation of the fat cell, or stop it completely.
While they need to study the compound some more, "piceatannol could contribute to lowering body fat gain," Kim told us. "You could lower an accumulation of body fat cells."
Furthermore, it could potentially lead to gradual weight loss. When an old fat cells dies, Kim says, "they don't get replaced [because of the piceatannol], or they will get replaced with lower numbers."
Luckily, you don't have to drink yourself silly to stay thin (although why ever not?). Piceatannol is also present in fruits like red grape seeds and skin, blueberries, and passion fruit, with passion fruit containing the highest amount of the compound. In the meantime, Kim is looking to do more concrete research on the effect of piceatannol on the human body.