TEA CAN DO THAT™
The possibility that green tea helps with weight loss has been a recent topic in the media. What is the potential role of tea in helping maintain healthy weight? Unsweetened, fresh-brewed tea, both black and green has no sodium, no sugar, no fat and virtually no calories, yet tea is a satisfying, aromatic beverage. This makes tea an ideal choice for a weight control plan that is part of a healthy lifestyle, especially when substituting for other sugar sweetened beverages. Another factor to potentially helping maintain a healthy weight is that regular tea contains caffeine which has been shown to increase energy expenditure (number of calories burned)(17,18). In a study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, consumption of 3-4 servings of oolong tea was shown to increase energy expenditure and the rate of fat breakdown. In addition, subjects drinking tea spent energy at a 3% faster rate and burnt about 70 more calories a day than those consuming water (57).
Some emerging research on energy expenditure conducted with tea and tea extracts has suggested that increases in metabolism and rate of fat breakdown may not be solely due to caffeine in the tea. One study measuring the effect of green tea extract on energy expenditure in people showed that drinking either caffeinated water or tea extract significantly increased the number of calories burned, but in addition the rate of fat breakdown was significantly higher for participants drinking tea extract than those drinking the caffeinated water(58). In a second study researchers looked at group of flavonoids in tea and its effect on weight loss and body fat. They found significant weight loss and a significant reduction in total body fat in the people drinking tea flavonoids (equal to 3-4 cups of tea per day) when compared to participants drinking the placebo (66).
While this is active area of research; the preliminary evidence suggests the tea drinking can increase energy expenditure and fat burning. However, there are no conclusive studies that tea drinking has beneficial effects on weight loss. Still, tea is a satisfying, calorie-free beverage that can be substituted for sweetened beverages and is a delicious alternative to plain water in a healthy weight management plan.
*While tea is a naturally rich source of antioxidants, it is not a substitute for fruits or vegetables which provide a wide range of antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals. Please consult your doctor regarding a diet/nutritional plan that is right for you.
In a recent study, green tea was shown to reduce the body's absorption of dietary fats by approximately 40%. This effect occurs from green tea blocking the production of digestive enzymes (lipases) that facilitate the absorption of dietary fats. The end-result is that a large proportion of dietary fats pass straight through the body without being digested.
By inhibiting an enzyme (named amylase) that is involved in the digestion of dietary carbohydrates, green tea inhibits the absorption of carbohydrates.