After water, tea is the world next leading beverage. Tea was initiated by a Chinese emperor over 4,500 years ago before being popular. Tea has been one of the daily necessities in China since then. Chinese like to have after-meal cup of tea. As the Chinese would often say it after a big meal “let’s drink tea to “wash” the oil away from the system and ease digestion. Guess that is this weight loss myth that making tea getting popular in the West now.
Before we look into this weight loss issue, let’s look at what really green tea is. Chinese tea may be classified into three categories according to the different methods by which it is processed:
- Black tea (fully fermented)
- Oolong or Wulong tea (semi-fermented)
- Green tea (unfermented) – It is produced by steaming fresh leaves at high temperatures – therefore leaving a significant part of the nutritional and enzyme content intact. Because green tea looks and tastes nearer the original condition of the plant, only good and tender leaves are generally used for making green tea. Most flavored teas, such as jasmine, are made from the green tea.
Green tea is usually brewed using 1 to 2 teaspoons of the dried tea in a cup of boiling water. Green tea extracts are also available in capsule form.
Many of my female friends have the habit to drink green tea to an extent like drinking water. It is not a surprise since some companies are pushing green tea as the latest (easiest) way to lose weight.
Following are some of the green tea manufacturers’ claims:
- Green tea increase up your metabolism. A study found that green tea extract resulted in a significant increase in energy expenditure (a metabolism ‘boost’). The researchers also concluded that that over a 24-hour period, green tea extract increases the metabolic rate by 4%. Some said about 79 calories a day with a cup of green tea. If the claim is true, in a year, it will be 28,000 calories a year which is about 8 pounds (about 3.6 kilogram) of weight. Some companies go a step further by introducing green tea weight loss patches.
- Most companies also claim that green tea inhibits fat absorption and helps glucose regulation. Green tea help to inhibit the movement of glucose into fat cells. It helps to slow the rise in blood sugar after a meal. This prevents high insulin spikes (lots of insulin promotes fat storage) and the subsequent fat storage.
- Some people believe that green tea may help reduce appetite. Study found that green tea caused rats to lose up to 21 percent of their body weight. Rats injected with a green tea extract lost their appetites and consumed up to 60 percent less food after seven days of daily injections. This may have something to do with the blood sugar regulating effects of green tea.
Now, which claim is true and what is my take on them?
- I rather position green tea as an alternative to coffee or soft drink for those are on diet. To promote it as slimming tea may be misleading. Based on what I found from Internet, those who drink green tea to replace their coffee are the group who actually notice a drop in their weight. I could not really find a really good study that definitively shows drinking green tea will help a person lose weight. Most often cited are studies which suggest green tea extracts “may” promote weight loss.
- You are not going to eat 5000 calories a day, drink a cup of green tea and make it all go away. Even if the loss of 79 calories a day is possible, it is better for you to jog to burn that calories because jogging will train your cardiovascular fitness. A healthy diet and increased exercise will go a long way in helping you lose weight.
- Also, be cautious of the caffeine if you have health problems. For some people that have heart troubles, high blood pressure or stimulant sensitivities, the caffeine in green tea may not be ta good thing for you in long term. If you are worried about the caffeine from green tea, try taking green tea extract. Most green tea extract is made from decaffeinated green tea so you can still get the benefits without the caffeine.
- Instead of looking purely on the weight loss benefits, green tea does provide health benefits – eases digestion and brings about a slight drop in blood pressure. Chinese tea is also rich in various vitamins. For smokers, it helps to discharge nicotine out of the system.
Let’s look at what the clever businessman has made money from the green tea craze:
Green Tea Soap
Green Tea Cake
Green Tea Kit Kat
Green Tea Ice Cream
Green Tea Starbucks
Green Tea Hair Gel from Body Shop
Green Tea Hulk
For me, green tea is a healthy beverage. If green tea actually helps stimulate the body to burn calories, this is a great bonus. Again, let me emphasis again – There is no such thing as a ‘miracle’ weight loss food or drug.
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