Resveratrol, the chemical in red grape skins that seems to underlie the healthful effects of red wine, limits the number of fat cells that can develop from stem cells, a new study finds.
The finding, combined with resveratrol’s other beneficial effects at the cellular level, might explain in part the French paradox, said study coauthor Martin Wabitsch, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of Ulm in Germany, who presented the work Monday in San Francisco during a meeting of the Endocrine Society. The paradox refers to the observation that people in France seem to have a low incidence of coronary heart disease and seem to stay thin despite a diet high in fats.
Scientists formerly believed that people have a set number of fat cells at birth, but now widely understand that stem cells can differentiate into full-fledged fat cells well into adulthood and old age.
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