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Trying to Lose Weight? Try Green Tea

Green tea is rich in flavonoids, a group of plant pigments (bioflavonoids) that function as antioxidants. Evidence that a subclass of flavonoids called "tea catechins" helps control fat oxidation suggests that green tea may play a role in weight management.

The authors of the present study begin by explaining that "fundamentally, there are only two ways to treat obesity: reduce energy intake or increase energy expenditure (EE)." They then compared the influence of green tea vs. placebo on 24-hour EE and respiratory quotient (RQ) in 10 healthy male subjects. On three separate occasions, subjects were randomly assigned to receive one of three treatments at breakfast, lunch and dinner: green tea extract (50 mg caffeine, 90 mg eipgallocatechin gallate); caffeine (50 mg); or placebo.

Results: Men who ingested the green tea extract demonstrated a significant increase in 24-hour EE and a significant decrease in 24-hour RQ compared to men who ingested caffeine or placebo. Treatment with caffeine, even in amounts equivalent to those found in the green tea extract (50 mg), had no effect on EE or RQ.

These findings suggest that green tea promotes fat oxidation beyond that explained merely by its caffeine content. The authors purport that these thermogenic qualities are caused by tea catechins, and suggest that their results emphasize the potential ability of green tea to "influence body weight and body composition via changes in both EE and substrate utilization."

Dulloo AG, Duret C, Rohrer D, et al. Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Dec. 1999:70, pp1040-45.


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Date Last Modified - Monday, 27-Jul-2009 09:13:38 PDT