Can Drinking Tea Shed Unwanted Pounds?

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

For thousands of years, people in East Asia have drunk tea for both its pleasant taste and reputed health benefits. In the 17th century, tea began to spread across the world and became popular in the new cultures that adopted it. One of the claims surrounding the consumption of tea is that it can boost the metabolism and help one lose weight. Is there any veracity to this?

Modern science has been able to shed light on many such claims surrounding food, drink and folk medicine and show which ones are legitimate and which ones are not. In the case of tea, it turns out that it can, in fact, play a beneficial role in helping you lose weight, but you won’t see these benefits by just drinking any old tea. The type of tea is the most important part of the equation.

The teas which have been shown to be the most beneficial for raising the metabolism are white tea, oolong tea and green tea, followed by rooibos and ashwaganda. Here’s where things get a little confusing: the first three are technically all the same tea.

 

“True” Tea

White, oolong and green tea all come from the same plant, camellia sinensis, otherwise known as “true tea.” The type of tea and the specific health benefits it imparts depends on how the tea is harvested and treated.

The super healthy tea most people are familiar with is green tea. This type of tea is made with unoxidized tea leaves which have been picked and dried before they wilted. This variety is very rich in vitamin C and is packed with antioxidants. Many of these antioxidants are calledcatechins, the most potent of which is epigallocatechin gallate, or ECGC, which is known to play a role in boosting the metabolism.

Oolong tea differs in the sense that the leaves are allowed to wilt and oxidize slightly before processing. This contributes to a stronger flavor and a higher caffeine content, which can help slightly boost the metabolism. Like green tea, it is also high in catechins.

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