Ah, wine. Is there anything it can't do?
I'll admit: as far as avant garde innovations go, I was pretty late in joining the wine party. Whenever I was a kid and stole a sip of my parents' glass, I absolutely hated the stuff. Despised it. Fast forward about 10 to 15 years and in college, I preferred a nice cocktail or spirit to a glass of Pinot Grigio or Merlot. It wasn't long, though, before I saw the light.
It started with the realization that if you want to get completely wasted for relative peanuts, then there are not many better substitutes than chugging a bottle of rosé and tripping over old ladies on the train. That's how my love of wine started out, but before I knew it, I started to enjoy the taste. Soon, I was drinking a glass with dinner or on a date. When I wasn't even trying to get drunk. The horror!
As we all know, there are plenty of reasons to enjoy a glass of red on a regular basis (within reason); wine's full of antioxidants, and not only does it help out your immune system and improve your bone density, but it can also lower the risks of both Type 2 diabetes and strokes (blood flow issues in the brain, not the New York-based indie band from the early 2000s). However, a new study shows that wine may be quite good at helping you to lose weight.
That's the conclusion of this experiment at Washington State University, where Professor of animal sciences Min Du and visiting scientist Songbo Wang were looking at how best to convert excess white fat into calorie-burning beige fat. Rather than using humans and wine, they used mice and grapes, but the results are still there for all to see.
In the study, mice were fed a high-fat diet. Then, they were given a ton of fruit containing the polyphenol resveratrol, which is an antioxidant found in - you guessed it - good old wine. Resveratrol has been used in plenty of obesity studies before, but the amounts used were way more concentrated than any human would consume in any given day.
On this occasion though, some of the mice were fed what would be equivalent to 12 ounces of fruit in a human (around three servings of pure fruit juice). Those that did reported a weight gain of up to 40 percent less than the control mice, and Min Du himself told us why that could help us to lose weight.
“Polyphenols in fruit, including resveratrol, increase gene expression that enhances the oxidation of dietary fats so the body won’t be overloaded. They convert white fat into beige fat that burns lipids off as heat – helping to keep the body in balance and prevent obesity and metabolic dysfunction.”
Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? The only thing you have to remember, though, is that the study was done with fruit, not wine, and the resveratrol gets mostly filtered during the wine production process.
That means the weight loss effects wouldn't be as strong than if you just ate a ton of grapes, so if you're actively looking to drop a couple pants sizes, maybe it's not as simple as drinking wine every day.
Still, I think it's still pretty great that when you have your glass of wine over dinner tonight, you can do so knowing that you could be drinking a little bit of your fat away. That means you're allowed to have some dessert, right?