Red Wine And Your Waistline

Happy Valentine’s Day! There are many things you can eat & drink over the weekend that are both good and bad for your waistline and in turn, good and bad for your heart health. So choose wisely! And most importantly, snuggle up with your loved ones, which is always good for mind, body, AND soul. “Red wine could help us slim down, a new study reportedly claims, but are these claims accurate and if so, who can really benefit? The study, conducted by a research team from the University of Florida and University of Nebraska, explored how particular compounds extracted from muscadine grapes, a variety grown in the south east of the United States, appear to slow the growth of new fat in human liver cells when tested in lab conditions. The researchers observed that the ellagic acid found in the grapes boosts the metabolism of the fatty acids in the liver cells, which in turn could support an overall fat reduction strategy. Though the research appears in the January issue of the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, this isn’t a new discovery. Indeed, the researchers expected to find what they did based on their earlier work with fattened lab mice who displayed marked health improvements and a greater capacity for weight loss when they were given extracts from the pinot noir grape, a grape that is used to make wine. This is great, but there are a lot of news headlines out there that are implying red wine is now the key to losing weight. That’s not what the study or the authors said. Dr. Neil Shay, a lead researcher in this study, tells the AP that “We didn’t find, and we didn’t expect to, that these compounds would improve body weight.” So, to put that in simple terms, the researchers found that this acid could inhibit the growth of new fat cells and could aid weight loss but couldn’t by itself shave off the pounds. Furthermore, placing the emphasis on red wine is incorrect. The researchers note that the grape itself or juices from the grapes would be just as good. In fact, they estimate that roughly a cup and half of grapes per day, per person, might support weight management. It should also be recognized that ellagic acid is found in many other fruits and vegetables, though admittedly grapes would provide a good snack food with a reasonable portion size most people could manage to include in their day-to-day diets. This effort is part of a wider scientific drive to identify specific foods that may help formulate more intelligent nutritional guidelines. This kind of information might also be particularly helpful for people looking to manage certain health conditions, like diabetes, who may find it difficult to know which foods might help them with their health problems. The media often apes studies that have found red wine might contain beneficial properties, but these reports often overlook that the effects have been exaggerated and that much of the research hasn’t been trialed in humans. Moreover, to get the benefits often observed in these kinds of studies, it would probably mean drinking large quantities of red wine, something that could be detrimental to overall health and obviously wouldn’t be sustainable in the long term. What I think we might safely infer from this study, however, is something that we already knew: a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is probably the best weight-management strategy and may be the key to helping support our healthy lifestyles.” From “Is Red Wine Really Slimming? As Usual, It’s Complicated” By Steve Williams

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