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Showing posts from April, 2012

The red wine diet to lose weight? Believe it (sort of)

If you follow the news about red wine you will have been deluged with coverage of a recent study finding that it prevents fat cells from maturing, and is therefore the latest miracle weight loss solution. The specific ingredient, a polyphenol called piceatannol, has not previously received a lot of attention. It does provide some answers to questions such as why wine drinkers are less likely to gain weight or develop type 2 diabetes, but raises some new questions too.
What the study found is that piceatannol inhibits the development of young fat cells – called preadipocytes – into permanent adult type fat cells. It accomplishes this by blocking the effect of insulin which activates genes in these cells that signal them to grow up and store fat. In theory, then, this could explain one of the benefits of a daily tipple.
The study also sheds some light on the role of resveratrol, the molecule that has received so much attention in recent years. As I pointed out in my book Age Gets Better w…

new research shows why red wine could reduce breast cancer risk

Last week's post referenced a population study that purported to show that any wine consumption even in moderation would increase the chances of getting beast cancer, but as I repeatedly point out the data is highly inconsistent. A new study further contradicts this by revealing some of the ways that resveratrol (from red wine) directly influences cancer-prone breast cells in human subjects. Researchers at the University of North Dalota recruited 39 women at increased risk for breast cancer (based on genetic analysis) and then monitored the effects of oral resveratrol supplementation for 12 weeks. Cells from the breast were sampled and analyzed, revealing that resveratrol helped activate what are called tumor suppressor genes.
This is particularly powerful information because studies of this type -prospective trials in human subjects with objectively verifiable results - provide the highest level of evidence. (In contrast, population studies such as the one referenced in last wee…