Does red wine have a role to play in weight loss?

Next time someone asks you “red or white” you might want to thinking about opting for the former, especially if you want to lose some weight.

That’s because new research has found that an ingredient in berries, grapes and red wine can actually burn calories – how wonderful is that?

Resveratrol is a substance found in our favourite beverage that converts normal, unproductive white fat cells into “beige” fat, which is known for its ability to burn fat as heat or energy in the body.

Scientists fed mice a high-fat diet, supplementing some of the mice with resveratrol. They found those that took the supplement gained 40 per cent less weight than the control group.

The scientists, from Washington State University, focused on resveratrol, but this substance is just one of a group of compounds known as polyphenols. It is expected others will yield the same results. Polyphenols are already known to be highly effective in the prevention and treatment of cancer.

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Before you get too excited about an impending “red wine diet” that keeps you slim and cancer-free, it’s worth pointing out that red wine has lower levels of resveratrol than some fruits.

Lead researcher Professor Min Du says blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, grapes and apples are especially rich in polyphenols. The mice were given doses of resveratrol equivalent to a human consuming 340 grams of these fruits per day, which is two to three serves.

Unfortunately, “Many of the beneficial polyphenols are insoluble and get filtered out during the wine production process,” says the professor.

The findings of the study were published in the International Journal of Obesity. The discovery suggests that a diet high in polyphenols could combat obesity.

So when it comes time to choose a wine at the end of the day, you might want to go for a merlot, cabinet sauvignon or shiraz, with a side serve of berries, just to make it even healthier.

Are you a red or a white wine drinker? And do you consider the health benefits of your tipple when making a choice?