The substance, piceatannol, delays the generation of young fat cells and prevents them from growing into mature ones.
It is also believed to protect the body from heart and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as cancer.
The compound blocks insulin`s ability to activate genes that carry out further stages of fat cell formation.
The agent found in wine is also thought to protect the body from heart and neurodegenerative diseases and cancer, according to researchers at Purdue University, Indiana, USA.
`In the presence of piceatannol you can see delay or complete inhibition of young fat cells,` the Daily Mail quoted lead researcher Dr Kee-Hong Kim as saying.
`Piceatannol alters the timing of gene expressions, gene functions and insulin action during adipogenesis - the process in which young fat cells become mature fat cells,` Dr Kim explained.
The compound is similar in structure to resveratrol - a supplement sold in the UK last year to combat disease - and is also found in grapes, blueberries and passion fruit.
Dr Kim, assistant professor of food science at the university, said: `We are now testing our idea using animal model obesity to see if it has the same benefical functions.`
`We need to work on improving the stability and solubility of piceatannol to create a biological effect,` he added.
The finding was published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Source: ANI Image: Flickr/creativecommons andreaskollegger