Thursday, May 03, 2007

Tea's Potential For Weight Loss

Losing weight is a topic on the mind of many. It's no secretthat long term weight loss and maintenance require long term lifechanges. In order to successfully lose weight and keep it off youmust consume fewer calories each day than your body uses. Thisallows your body to use stored fat as energy, rather than food.

So, eating less is just half the equation. Since you can onlyreduce your calorie intake by so much, it's critical to alsoincrease the amount of calories your body uses each day. This iswhy exercise is so important. Exercise burns calories whileyou're exercising, but also increases your metabolic rate forseveral hours after you finish.

Exercising by lifting weights can also help increase yourmetabolic rate in the long term. Because muscle requires morecalories to maintain, even when resting, building muscle is agreat way to help ensure that you burn more calories all thetime.

So, as you're attempting to lose weight, it's important to payattention to increasing your metabolism. Part of this equationincludes not decreasing your caloric intake too drastically. Whenyou significantly reduce the number of calories you'reconsuming, your body begins to go into starvation mode, actuallyconserving calories and fat. This can stall your weight lossprogress.

A better way to lose weight is to reduce your calorie intakesomewhat, but to put the bulk of your effort into increasing thenumber of calories you burn each day. Exercise is the mostimportant way to do this, but there is another way that you canincrease your metabolic rate that many people don't know about.

The secret is tea. Several studies have shown tea to have theability to aid in weight loss by raising your metabolic rate. Inaddition, tea seems to inhibit the absorption of the fat in yourdiet, which may help you lose weight, as well.

This ability to limit fat absorption may also be one of thereasons that tea consumption seems to lower cholesterol. Whentriglycerides (a form of fat) rise, cholesterol rises, too.

However, it is likely that the most important quality that teapossesses for aiding weight loss is its ability to impactmetabolism. It has long been believed by the Chinese that teahelps with weight control, but there has not been a great deal ofresearch on the subject.

However, with all the recent attention that tea has garnered forits ability to reduce aging and prevent disease, more research isbeing done on all of tea's potential.

For example, there have been many studies that suggest that tea,particularly green tea, can prevent heart disease and cancer. Teais a potent source of anti-oxidants, which scientists havediscovered are keys to health.

Anti-oxidants are important because they fight the free radicalscreated as a by-product of the digestive process. Free radicalsare oxygen containing molecules that damage cells and DNA if leftunchecked. However, a regular diet of anti-oxidants can stop thefree radicals from damaging our bodies.

Anti-oxidants are found in many plant sources, including fruitsand vegetables, but none are more potent than those in tea. Forthis reason, tea has gained a great deal of attention for being ahealthy beverage.

One study, conducted by the University of Tokushima in Japan,attempted to verify tea's effect on the body's energyexpenditure, or the number of calories burned. The study wasconducted on men, who did not consume any caffeine or flavonoids(the anti-oxidants in tea) for four days prior to beginning thestudy.

The study lasted for three days, during which the subjectsconsumed a typical American diet. Each subject was evaluatedprior to the study to get a measure of his normal daily energyexpenditure. The subjects were divided into four groups. Thegroups were given one of four regimens:

* Water* Full strength tea* Half strength tea* Water containing 270 mg of caffeine (approximately the sameamount found in the full strength tea)

The study found that, compared to the men who drank water, themen who drank full strength tea showed an energy expenditureincrease of 2.9%, and the men who drank caffeinated water had anincreased energy expenditure of 3.4%.

However, the men who drank full strength tea also had anincreased fat oxidation of 12% over the water drinkers. This fatoxidation increase was not shown in the men who drank caffeinatedwater.

So, this study suggests to us that caffeine does help speed upthe metabolism. However, it also tells us that it is not just thecaffeine alone that makes tea an effective weight loss aid. Othercomponents in tea, likely the anti-oxidants, are responsible fortea's ability to oxidize fat in a way that caffeine alonecannot.Tea is a healthy drink, and, worldwide, is the second mostconsumed beverage, after water. So, using tea as a weight lossaid is a safe way to help increase your chances of losing thoseexcess pounds. If tea isn't already part of your weight lossplan, why not add it today?

* http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/content/abstract/131/11/2848

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Marcus Stout is President of the Golden Moon Tea Company. For more information about tea, (http://www.goldenmoontea.com/greentea)

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