Three new studies show that nutrients from fruits and vegetables helped cut fat.
In a soy protein study, 15 obese, post-menopausal women, average age 56, drank a liquid meal containing 20 grams of soy protein with 160 mg of soy isoflavones per day or a placebo. After three months, although none of the women lost weight, those who drank the soy shake had lost an average of about 6 square inches of abdominal fat while those in the placebo group had gained 9 square inches of abdominal fat. Doctors do not know how soy cuts fat, but suggested that isoflavones may keep fat cells from building up.
In a lab study, researchers exposed young and mature fat cells to the nutrients soy (genistein) and resveratrol, a nutrient found in grapes and peanuts. As investigators increased the dosages, larger numbers of fat cells died a natural death, in a process called apoptosis where the dying and dead cells do not harm the body. Separately, genistein and resveratrol each increased apoptosis by 46 percent. Together, genistein and resveratrol increased apoptosis by 242 percent.
Doctors also measured how much fat accumulated in the cells—a sign of maturity—and found that genistein cut accumulating fat by 30 percent, resveratrol cut fat by 20 percent, and together, genistein and resveratrol cut accumulating fat by 78 percent.
In another lab study, investigators exposed fat cells to the nutrients resveratrol and quercetin, which is found in leafy green vegetables and beans. In young fat cells, resveratrol reduced accumulating fat by 9 percent and quercetin cut accumulating fat by 15 percent. Together, resveratrol and quercetin cut accumulating fat by 68 percent.
In mature fat cells, resveratrol increased apoptosis by 120 percent and quercetin increased apoptosis by 85 percent. Doctors concluded that together, resveratrol and quercetin prevent fat cells from maturing and help cause mature fat cells to die a natural death.