We often hear the phrase “red or white” when asked our wine preference at dinner. But those who prefer the pinot noir over the pinot grigio may get added benefits according to scientists, less body fat. Though not as exciting but still beneficial, eating certain kinds of grapes or drinking grape juice was found to have the same effect. Oregon State University researchers made this discovery, led by biochemist and molecular biologist Dr. Neil Shay. Their study focused on Muscadine grapes. Researchers found that consumption of them and their products helped the obese improve body weight as well as combat liver disorders, such as fatty liver disease. Ellagic acid was the nutrient found in these dark, red orbs that lent them this healthful property. It not only slowed the growth of fat cells, it inhibited the formation of new ones. Ellagic acid was not only present in these grapes, but other fruits and vegetables too.
Dr. Shay said, “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.” His Oregon State team coordinated with two others, one at the University of Nebraska and the other the University of Florida. The study lasted 10 weeks. First, the mice were given high fat diets and made to lead a sedentary lifestyle. Sounds much like how many people lead life today. Then one group was given extracts from grapes. Another wasn’t. In time, the mice fed grapes saw improvements such as less body fat, a healthier blood-sugar level and a faster metabolism. Researchers said they wanted to distinctly identify the specific health benefits of eating certain foods, in hopes that more shopper’s carts will be filled with the right stuff the next time they are in the supermarket. And perhaps wine lovers won’t feel so guilty about having a glass or two at the close of another day. So the next time someone toasts to your health, take them to heart. There may be more to it than a simple phrase, as long as you choose the red wine that is.