Brew some green tea, drink lots of it, and you might have an effective way to slow weight gain and fight obesity. Scientists at Pennsylvania State University found that green tea significantly slows weight gain in obese mice fed a high-fat diet.
Green tea compound also limits fat absorption
Green tea has been credited with a number of health benefits, including an ability to fight cancer, assist with weight loss, reduce the risk of heart disease, and help strengthen bones. These benefits are attributed to the high levels of polyphenols (30-40%) found in green tea.
Polyphenols are chemicals found in plants that have antioxidant properties. The four main polyphenols in green tea are epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG), and epicatechin (EC). In the Penn State study, EGCG was the polyphenol fed to the mice.
Two groups of obese mice were used in the experiment. Both groups were on a high-fat diet, but one group was given EGCG as well. The mice in the EGCG group gained weight 45% more slowly than did the control mice. According to Joshua Lambert, assistant professor of food science in the College of Agricultural Sciences, “Our results suggest that if you supplement with EGCG or green tea you gain weight more slowly.”
Another benefit was that the mice consuming EGCG had a nearly 30% increase in fat in their feces, which suggests the green tea compound limits fat absorption. Lambert noted that “First, EGCG reduces the ability to absorb fat and, second, it enhances the ability to use fat.”
One thing EGCG did not appear to do, however, was to reduce appetite. Both group of mice ate the same amount of food.
What this study means for humans, explained Lambert, is that they would need to consume ten cups of green tea daily to get the same amount of EGCG the scientists used in the experiment. He pointed out, however, that other studies have shown that “tea drinkers who only consume one or more cups a day will see effects on body weight compared to nonconsumers.”
Anyone who wants to boost their weight loss efforts and fight obesity might consider adding green tea to their daily menu. The addition of green tea supplements containing EGCG could enhance the loss of pounds, but check with your healthcare provider first.
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