Eat berries to defeat obesity: Scientists have found a compound in berries, grapes and wine that can be considered as one of best solutions of obesity to reduce obesity risk by converting ‘white’ fat into calorie burning ‘beige fat’.
Resveratrol is a type of antioxidant and polyphenol that is found in many fruits. People naturally associate it with wine but it is more abundant in fruits such as apples, grapes and berries such as blueberries, strawberries and raspberries.
Although previous studies have linked resveratrol with reducing obesity but they had not made it clear just how this happens. Most studies also used large amounts of resveratrol, higher concentrations than consumed in daily diet by human.
Professor of Animal Sciences Min DU and visiting scientist Songbo Wang demonstrated an experiment in which mice when fed a diet with 0.1 resveratrol were able to convert their excess white fat into active energy burning beige fat.
Du explained that although resveratrol gets the spotlight for slowing aging and fighting cancer among other claims, it is just one of the polyphenolic compounds found in fruits. “We use resveratrol as a representative for all of the polyphenols but in reality it is the total content of the polyphenols that is important.”
Only a fraction of the resveratrol and phenolic compounds found in grapes are present in wines such as merlot or cabernet sauvignon and merlot. This is because during wine production, many of the beneficial polyphenols are filtered out, as they are insoluble.
It is better to eat the whole fruit as they contain fiber as well. Two or 3 servings of such fruits every day can equal the 12 ounces required.
Usually when researchers talk about fat, they mention two types of fat. There is white fat in which the lipids are stored as energy and then there is brown fat that produces heat by burning the lipids.
White fat can be protective when it is present in a healthy ratio. But too much of it can lead to disease. Eating excessively leads to extra lipids being stored as white fat.
When obesity sets in, the fat cells expand to such a point that they become filled with lipids and can’t take in any more. Over loaded fat cells start dying, which releases toxins in blood casing inflammation. This chain of events leads to diseases such as diabetes.
But a few years ago, scientists discovered beige fat, which is in between brown and white fat. Beige fat is made from white fat through a process termed as “browning.”
In the study, adult female mice were given a diet high in fat. Those that received resveratrol (equivalent amount to about 12 ounces of fruit for a human being) gained about 40 percent less weight than the control mice.
An enzyme known as AMPK not only regulates the body’s metabolism but according to the Washington University researchers, it also stimulates the conversion of white fat into beige fat.
“Resveratrol can enhance this conversion through oxidation. High rates of browning can partially prevent obesity as beige fat burns lipids off as heat, helping to keep the body in balance and preventing obesity and metabolic dysfunction,” Du said.
The study con solutions Of obesity was published in the International Journal of Obesity. It was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Natural Science Foundation of China and an Emerging Research Issues Internal Competitive Grant from the WSU College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Resource Sciences.