I was looking through an old (February, 2010) issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition and found an article I had marked to read “later.” And yes, miracle of miracles, “later” actually came. See what good things can come from finding an excuse not to mop the floor?
Anyway, this research study is too good not to share. Green tea can help us lose weight and improve our blood cholesterol levels. Yes, on its own, without diet or exercise. This study was one of three that have shown this wonderful property of green tea. Hooray for a drink with superpowers. No wonder it has its own ceremony.
Here’s me getting all sciency on this for you:
While the study was small (35 people), those who drank 4 cups of green tea per day lost on average 5.5 pounds more than the placebo group in eight weeks, and those who took green tea supplements lost an average of 4.2 lbs. more than the placebo group. Weight loss for the placebo group was not significant. The subjects in the study were clinically obese; if you only want to lose a few pounds your results might not be as dramatic. But hey, for something so easy to do, a boost of a couple pounds lost is great.
The tea used in this study was Bigelow Decaffeinated Green Tea; four bags were steeped in four cups of boiled water for 10 minutes (I know, don’t tell any of your English friends!) – no sugar or milk was added to the tea, artificial sweetener was used by each participant as they desired. Each person in the green tea group had four eight-ounce cups each day, two in the morning and two in the afternoon (6-8 hours later). One large mug usually holds 12 ounces, so a cup with a warm-up is a good amount.
The extract supplements used were made by Solaray, and contained 230 mg of EGCG in each capsule (the bottle says 250 mg, but the lab says 230 mg). Each person in the supplement group took two capsules total each day, spaced 6-8 hours apart, for a total of 460 mg of EGCG and 870 mg of total catechins (another superpower weapon) per day. Bigelow tea is available at most supermarkets and Solaray supplements are available at most health food stores and natural grocery stores. Both are available online here (Amazon gives me a small thank you if you purchase through these links):Bigelow Green Tea
The people (I think participant sounds kind of creepy) in this study were instructed to not change their diet or exercise habits during the eight weeks. Permission not to diet or exercise, and they probably got paid a little somethin-somethin. I know, how do we sign up for this? Other studies that included dietary modification and exercise along with green tea showed even more benefits. Those studies lasted an average of 12 weeks.
So there you go, as close to a magic potion as we have gotten so far when it comes to weight loss and health. Many researchers think green tea consumption is the reason breast cancer is so rare in Japan (along with their love of vegetables and fruit), and the compounds in green tea have been shown to have many anti-cancer properties. There really is no down side that we know of right now to drinking reasonable amounts of green tea. See, superpowers.
If drinking four cups of tea does not fit into your daily routine, the capsules are a great alternative. The results weren’t quite as impressive, but then again, no one had to boil water or dirty a cup. The bottom line for me is that I now drink a lot of green tea and have started taking capsules as well.
It seems 1.3 billion Chinese people can’t be wrong, after all…