Researchers claim to have found a compound in red wine, grapes and other fruits that facilitate fat cells to develop and grow, thus paving the way for a potential method to control obesity.
Kee-Hong Kim, assistant professor of food science at Purdue University, and Jung Yeon Kwon, a graduate student, reported that this compound piceatannol blocks an immature fat cell's ability to develop and grow.
While similar in structure to resveratrol - the compound in red wine, grapes and peanuts that is believed to combat cancer, heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases - piceatannol might be an important weapon against obesity, the Journal of Biological Chemistry reports.
Resveratrol is converted to piceatannol in humans after consumption, said Kim, according to a Purdue university statement.
"Piceatannol actually alters the timing of gene expressions, gene functions and insulin action during adipogenesis, the process in which early stage fat cells become mature fat cells," Kim said.
"In the presence of piceatannol, you can see delay or complete inhibition of adipogenesis," said Kim.
Over a period of 10 days or more, immature fat cells, called preadipocytes, go through several stages to become mature fat cells, or adipocytes.