Drinking wine may help burn fat, according to new research.

By Abigail Wise
Updated February 06, 2015
Pouring red wine
Credit: Jens Mortensen

Here's a reason to sip on a glass of wine tonight. We already knew red wine could possibly help our hearts, improve memory, cut cancer risks, and maybe even increase longevity, but new research from Oregon State University suggests that wine and grape juice may also help burn fat—at least in mice.

In the study, published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, one group of mice was fed a regular diet, containing 10 percent fat. Another group of mice received a high-fat diet, which consisted of 60 percent fat. Researchers also fed the high-fat group an extract from Pinot Noir grapes, which, when brought to scale, would be equivalent to humans consuming one and a half cups of the grapes.

The mice on the high-fat diet developed fatty liver and symptoms of diabetes, the same response we would expect to see from humans on a high-fat diet. “Our mice like that high-fat diet,” researcher Neil Shay said in a statement, “and they over-consume it. So they’re a good model for the sedentary person who eats too much snack food and doesn’t get enough exercise.”​

But mice that also consumed the grape extract had lower blood sugar levels and accumulated less fat on their livers than the ones on the high-fat diet who were not receiving the Pinot Noir grape extract. The mice eating the grape supplement also had higher activity levels of PPAR-alpha and PPAR-gamma, two proteins that help our bodies regulate fat and metabolize sugar, meaning consumption of grapes or wine could help aid fat burning and improve livers of overweight people.

Of course, the study was only in mice, not humans, which means we're a long way from offering up wine as an Rx. But if you're planning to enjoy a glass tonight, you can say "cheers" to one more possible health benefit (in moderation).