It seems like every time you turn around, there’s a new compound being discovered that promises to revolutionize your health. Seeds from a Guatemalan flower could lower your cholesterol, the roots of a Mongolian tree could lower your risk of cancer, the shit from a Peruvian Greater Bulldog Bat will keep your dick hard.
This list goes on and on.
Not to say that some of these aren’t valid. Indeed, most modern medicines come from synthesized chemicals first discovered and extracted from the natural world. So every now and then, when you read one of these stories, it might actually pan out to a real human health success story.
But I have my doubts on this one.
According to a recent study from Purdue University, a fruit chemical found in grapes, pomegranates and, naturally, red wine, might block the formation of the fat cells in your love handles. And yes, everywhere else too.
The chemical in question is called piceatannol. The difficult to pronounce compound is created in your own body when you metabolize resveratrol, itself a litany of come-to-Jesus-save-us-all health claims. In the study, Kee-Hong Kim, an assistant professor of food science, and Jung Yeon Kwon, a garduatae student in Kim’s laboratory, administered piceatannol to cell cultures grown.
They discovered that the compound binds to the insulin receptors on the early stages of a fat cell. No, fat cells don’t just jump straight out of a Twinkie and onto your thighs. Fat cells are created through a specific set of instructions, ranging from the simple creation of a new cell to stock piling the new cell full of lipids.
And without that stockpile of lipids, a baby fat cell is really no fat cell at all.
In order to become one, a newly created fat cell receives signals from the insulin in your blood stream. By getting in the way of these signals, piceatannol appears to delay – or even prevent – baby fat cells from bloating into adult ones.
Of course, the concentrations of piceatannol used in the study are way above anything you’d be able to consume naturally. Additionally, the tests took place in a test tube, not an actual animal. So who knows how baby fat cells might react to it in their natural environment?
So if you’d like to use the report as a small reason to drink more red wine, be my guest. But I’m going to keep on drinking it simply to get drunk, quite likely in amounts that would counteract any fat averting chemicals.