Drinking red grape juice and even red wine could help with weight loss, a new study finds.
Dark-coloured grapes, whether they are in wine or juice could help people struggling with obesity or those with metabolic disorders, like a fatty liver.
Dr Neil Shay, one of the study’s authors, has long studied the metabolic effects of chemicals in grapes:
“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.”
While not a weight loss miracle, the chemicals in grapes may help improve liver function by burning fat there and so help with weight loss.
In the study, published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, human liver and fat cells were exposed to four different types of chemicals found in Muscadine grapes (Okla et al., 2015).
Researchers found that one of the chemicals, ellagic acid, had a dramatic slowing effect on the growth of existing fatty cells and the formation of new fat cells.
This study builds on a previous one in which Dr Shay and colleagues gave overweight mice extracts from the Pinot noir grape:
Dr Shay explained:
“Our mice like that high-fat diet and they overconsume it.
So they’re a good model for the sedentary person who eats too much snack food and doesn’t get enough exercise.”
Over a ten-week trial, they found that mice who ate a high-fat diet but also got the grape extract had lower blood sugar and accumulated less fat in their livers.
As in the most recent study, the ellagic acid seemed to be causing the effect.
They found that ellagic acid has a similar mechanism to commonly prescribed drugs for lowering blood sugar.
Dr Shay says:
“We are trying to validate the specific contributions of certain foods for health benefits.
If you’re out food shopping, and if you know a certain kind of fruit is good for a health condition you have, wouldn’t you want to buy that fruit?”
Fresh fruit image from Shutterstock