A Polyphenol in Red Wine Stops the Formation of Fat
In previous research, the polyphenol resveratrol has been linked to lower levels of fat, but its clinical implications are limited. Resveratrol is quickly metabolized by humans and may wash through the body with little noticeable benefit to fat intake. Piceatannol is similar to resveratrol, but with a key difference. Its structure contains an additional hydrogen and oxygen molecule that makes it harder for the body to digest—it sticks around in the body a little longer.
"A number of previous studies indicated that piceatannol has strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor activities," said co-author Dr. Kee-Hong Kim, a nutritionist at the department of Food Science at Purdue University. But its interactions with fat tissue remain unexplored.
When the human body consumes fat, those calories are either converted into energy or stored as fatty tissue in the body, depending on several factors. Kim and his team observed that when they recreated this process in the lab, piceatannol prevented the body from converting fat cells into fatty tissue. (Kim and his team sourced the chemical from Monastrell grapes, also known as Mourvèdre.)
Even at smaller doses, piceatannol was an effective fat blocker, producing a 20 percent reduction in fat formation. At higher doses, the formation of fat was nearly non-existent, with 80 percent fewer fat cells formed. And the good news is piceatannol is abundant in nature. "You find piceatannol in berries, grapes and red wine, while the highest piceatannol content can be found in passion fruit,"said Kim.