How a glass of red wine could PREVENT you from putting on weight

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UPDATED:

12:46 GMT, 12 April 2012

Red wine contains piceatannol, which delays the generation of young fat cells

Red wine contains piceatannol, which delays the generation of young fat cells

Drinking red wine could actually reduce your chance of piling on the pounds, according to a new scientific study.

The research shows enjoying the odd glass of Merlot may be less of a guilty pleasure and have an additional benefit.

Scientists have revealed a compound found in red wine can help control body fat.

The substance, called piceatannol, delays the generation of young fat cells and prevents them from growing into mature fat cells.

The compound blocks insulin’s ability to activate genes that carry out further stages of fat cell formation.

The agent found in wine is also thought to protect the body from heart and neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.

The groundbreaking research was carried out at Purdue University, Indiana, USA.

Lead researcher Dr Kee-Hong Kim said: 'In the presence of piceatannol you can see delay or complete inhibition of young fat cells.

'Piceatannol alters the timing of gene expressions, gene functions and insulin action during adipogenesis – the process in which young fat cells become mature fat cells.'

Dr Kim, assistant professor of food science at the university, added: 'We are now testing our idea using animal model obesity to see if it has the same benefical functions.

'We need to work on improving the stability and solubility of piceatannol to create a biological effect.'

The compound is similar in structure to resveratrol – a supplement sold in the UK last year to combat disease – and is also found in grapes, blueberries and passion fruit.

The research was published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.