A study published in the October, 2011 online version of Obesity finds that a substance in green tea may be effective in slowing down weight gain, even when eating a high-fat diet, as well as limit fat absorption. The study, conducted by scientists at
Study on Green Tea and Reduced Weight Gain
Joshua Lambert, lead author of the study, and fellow researchers placed overweight mice in two different groups: one group ate a high-fat diet supplemented with a component of green tea and the other group of mice ate the same diet but without the supplement. The component of green tea used was Epigallocatechin-3-gallate – EGCG. The researchers found that the group of mice who ingested EGCG along with their diet slowed down their weight gaining ability by 45 percent as compared to the mice who didn't take EGCG. In addition, the mice taking EGCG also lowered fat absorption. According to Lambert, "First, EGCG reduces the ability to absorb fat and, second, it enhances the ability to use fat."
The researches did notice that the addition of EGCG to the diet did not suppress the appetite of the mice, as some studies have suggested about green tea. However, green tea as a whole has many components which may influence appetite.
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What about Humans and Green Tea?
How does this study apply to humans? Lampert admits that humans would have to drink ten cups of green tea a day to absorb the same amount of EGCG that was used in the mice in the study. But don't despair. What little human data there is shows that people who drink one or two cups of green tea a day do still experience an effect on body weight as compared to non-tea drinkers.
Do EGCG Supplements Help Control Weight?
There isn't exact science to back up the fact that only taking EGCG supplements will give you the same benefits as actually drinking green tea as a whole. In one article, the National Institutes of Health discusses the fact that while EGCG in green tea has been found in some studies to be effective in preventing numerous diseases and health conditions, it may be a variety of components in green tea working together with EGCG that actually causes the positive effects. While taking EGCG supplements as prescribed certainly couldn't hurt, drinking green tea may be the better route to take.
Is Green Tea Healthy for Everyone?
Drinking one or two cups of green tea a day should be fine for most people but if you take prescription medications, talk to your doctor first because there are some known side-effect to mixing green tea with certain medications. The University of Maryland Medical Center warns that people with heart problems, kidney disorders, diagnosed anxiety, and stomach ulcers not drink green tea. Green tea also contains high amounts of caffeine which may cause negative effects on people with anxiety, high blood pressure and insomnia. Green tea also contains components that work as a diuretic, so people taking a prescription diuretic shouldn't drink it.
Science Daily: Green Tea Helps Mice Keep Off Extra Pounds; October 4, 2011
: Green Tea Maryland Medical Center
National Institutes of Health: Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG): Chemical and biomedicalperspectives