Researchers in France have discovered that resveratrol and polyphenols — two organic compounds commonly found in grapes — may aid in the prevention of type II diabetes.

The study was featured in the British Journal of Nutrition and suggests that these antioxidants help reduce the buildup of fat in muscle tissues.

Type II diabetes, a chronic disease characterized by excessive levels of blood sugar (glucose), is caused by the body developing a resistance to its own insulin. As insulin resistance builds, greater amounts are needed to sustain healthy body functions.

The experiment separated rats into three groups: one control group and two groups with high-fat, high-sugar diets. One of the high-fat, high-sugar diet groups received grape polyphenol supplementation. This group had lower triglyceride levels in comparison to the high-sugar, high-fat group. The study showed that polyphenols found in grapes decreased the accumulation of fat cells in the rats.

In a separate study conducted by the University of Pecs in Hungary, people with type II diabetes received a concentrated solution of resveratrol or a placebo over the course of four weeks. Those who received the antioxidant supplement daily were more insulin-sensitive at the end of the experiment.

“The present study shows for the first time that resveratrol improves insulin sensitivity in humans, which might be due to a resveratrol-induced decrease in oxidative stress that leads to more efficient insulin signaling,” researchers said.

Over the past few decades, studies have indicated that resveratrol may prevent cancer cell growth. A study in The Journal of Biological Chemistry also suggested the antioxidant reduces the production of a protein associated to Alzheimer’s disease and may halt the disease’s progression if consumed in proper amounts. However, scientists from the Litwin-Zucker Research Center who conducted the study conceded that the advised amount of resveratrol necessary to benefit from the antioxidant’s effects would be difficult to consume solely through a healthy diet.

“Maybe if you drink wine for 20 years, you may have a beneficial effect,” researcher Phillippe Marambaud said.

Nonetheless, current findings suggest further research should be conducted in order to determine how to create an effective reservatrol supplement.

Although these studies provide compelling evidence for the health benefits of reservatrol and polyphenol found predominantly in grapes, I would not advise the excessive consumption of wine, especially as your new health and wellness columnist. But for all you dedicated winos out there, keep striving for that 20-year mark where your boozy ways may one day be considered the standard for a healthy life. Regardless, cheers!