We’re constantly looking for ways to help shed those unwanted pounds and keep them off – while exercise is obviously the best solution, most of us don’t go often enough – and thanks to new research it seems Chardonnay grapes could hold the key. This is because Chardonnay grape seeds were recently found to contain the highest amount of flavonoids and antioxidants of any grape, compounds that are known to help with weight loss, cholesterol and even controlling diabetes.

In the most recent study, according to the USDA, researchers ground Chardonnay seeds into a fine flour and fed the flour to mice.

Chemist Wally Yokoyama and his colleagues at the USDA-ARS Western Regional Research Center (WRRC) in Albany, California, discovered that blood cholesterol, hepatic steatosis — known as “fatty liver” — and weight gain were reduced in laboratory hamsters fed rations mixed with flour milled from Chardonnay wine grape seeds, as compared with hamsters fed rations containing Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah grape seed flour.

In a separate study, they added Chardonnay grape seed flour to rations of mice to determine if the flour changes the kinds and amounts of bacteria dwelling in the animals’ gut. “This is important because some gut bacteria may play a beneficial role in controlling obesity or reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes,” Yokoyama says. “Our research showed a dramatic decrease in the numbers of gut bacteria, and we were able to relate some species to changes in ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and weight gain.”

It’s important to note that researchers have reported that the best way to take in Chardonnay’s beneficial properties is by grinding the seeds into a flour. However if the Chardonnay you’re drinking happens to have had its juice macerating with the grape seeds for any amount of time – most oaked Chardonnays do – these properties will also be in the wine, though in lesser quantities. Perhaps fans of rich, vanilla soaked Chardonnay have known something the rest of us didn’t all along.