Eat Grapes, Lose Weight?

Remember resveratrol, the well-known antioxidant that's found inside the skins of grapes (red grapes in particular) and various other plants? It caught researchers' attention a while ago when they discovered it was also an anti-inflammatory substance that perhaps could lower the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Well, now a new report out of the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, says that resveratrol might also help us manage our weight. The study was published in the January 7 Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Another hero: adiponectin

The Texas researchers think that resveratrol helps with weight management because it stimulates another winning substance called adiponectin, a hormone found in the cells that make and store fat. Adiponectin helps us manage our weight by fighting insulin resistance, a scary syndrome that can lead not only to extra pounds but also to diabetes.

Some good dietary sources of resveratrol

  • Red/purple grapes. Resveratrol is indeed found in grape skins, but do keep a tally of how many of these little fruits you eat. A single serving, which consists of 15 medium, 10 large, or 20 small grapes, provides about 60 calories and 15 grams of carbohydrate.
  • Berries. Cranberries, blueberries, and strawberries (especially the strawberry's seeds!) provide smaller amounts of resveratrol.
  • Peanuts also contain resveratrol, but again they're loaded with calories, so keep portions to about 1/4 cup per day.

And proceed with caution…

Please don't start drinking a lot of red wine because it happens to be an excellent source of resveratrol. Alcohol not only packs plenty of calories but it can increase your risk for certain cancers and other health issues. Experts now agree that a woman should drink no more than 1 glass of wine per day and a man no more than 2.

If red and purple grapes can furnish a healthy dose of resveratrol, can grape juice do the same? Not really. The juice is high in calories and is missing the fiber of grapes, so whenever possible go with the fruit over the juice.

People are now peddling resveratrol supplements, too (of course)

You might see resveratrol supplements advertised on the Internet, but watch out: These pills aren't regulated by the FDA. Besides not knowing exactly what you'll be getting when you buy unregulated products over the Internet, you also have to keep in mind that researchers don't know if resveratrol, even if it's pure, is any good for us if taken in pill form.

And one last caveat 

Resveratrol supplements can thin the blood, especially dangerous to those already taking a prescription blood-thinning agent. The moral: Talk with your doctor if you're thinking about taking a resveratrol supplement.

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