Chinese diet tea or green tea fat burners have become the latest trends in diet land, invented to lose weight fast and easy.
If you’ve also become interested in dieting with the help of tea, you first need to know there are two types of diet tea:
- One made from the tea plant Camellia sinensis (The Good!)
(green tea, oolong or black tea).
- One made from various (laxative) herbs (The Bad..).
Chinese diet tea: the good….
The first type of so-called Chinese diet tea (made from the tea plant Camellia sinensis) speeds up your metabolism through thermogenesis.
This is the process where calories are converted into heat energy which in turn helps your body to burn fat and ultimately to lose weight (even when at rest).
Polyphenols (or antioxidants) stimulate thermogenesis by interacting with each other….
….and since green tea and oolong tea contain the highest levels of polyphenols (including EGCG) when compared to other types of tea….
the effects of GREEN TEA and OOLONG TEA consumption
on BODY WEIGHT is highest!
What’s more, the antioxidants also help to regulate your digestive system; making you feel full faster (a so-called natural appetite suppressant) and they help digesting your food better.
IT WORKS BOTH WAYS: Not only will you eat less,
the stuff you DO eat, will be digested better.
Other advantages of drinking tea in relation to dieting are that tea only carries 4 calories per serving and the caffeine in green tea helps to burn even more calories.
Two studies examined the effects of tea consumption, as a beverage, on body weight or EE (energy expenditure or thermogenesis).
Rumpler and friends tested whether full-strength oolong tea increased EE or changed the oxidation rates more than did three control beverages 1.
They found the following:
- Full-strength oolong tea stimulates EE by an extra 2.9% (burning off an extra 67 kcal) compared to water. Caffeinated water, however, rose by 3.4% (79 kcal) compared to water.
- Fat oxidation increased by 12% for full-strength oolong tea versus an 8% increase for caffeinated water.
In their view, you can only achieve weight balance if
- You drink enough full-strength (oolong) tea to influence EE and fat oxidation, and
- You follow the proper diet, one that is not offsetting the slight energy imbalance.
Komatsu and his friends examined the effects of oolong tea and green tea consumption on fasting EE 2. After a 2-hour measuring period, they found resting EE was similar in the two groups before consumption of the different beverages and remained low after water (+3 kcal) and green tea (+12 kcal) consumption but increased significantly after oolong tea consumption (+27 kcal).
Because oolong tea had less caffeine and EGCG than did green tea, the rise in EE must be due to the presence in oolong tea of more polymerized polyphenols than are found in green tea. However, since measuring only took place during two hours, we cannot say this finding is always valid.
A third study confirms the first one 3. They examined the effects of green tea, in capsules, on EE and found green tea extract stimulates EE and fat oxidation (respectively 2.8% and 3.5% more than caffeine and placebo) and can therefore influence body weight and body composition.
Dulloo and others confirmed the conclusions of the third study since they found 4:
- Green tea extract significantly increases thermogenesis, more than caffeine alone;
- Green tea extract reduces body weight by 4.6%;
- Green tea extract reduces waist circumference by 4.5%.
As these were all very short studies, we cannot say that either oolong tea or green tea is a real Chinese diet tea, leading to weight loss over a longer period of time.
They do seem to be of help though in weight-loss programs or in weight maintenance; not only thanks to the caffeine content but merely due to EGCG and other polyphenols.
Chinese diet tea: the bad…..
The second type of Chinese diet tea is made of laxative herbs, such as senna, rhubarb, aloe, senna, rhubarb root, buckthorn, castor oil, and cascara. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classified it as generally safe since these herbs are known to be good against constipation and promoting bowel movements.
They can, however,
be counterproductive when you’re trying to lose weight.
WHY??? That’s the UGLY part….
Chinese diet tea: the ugly…truth
Normally these herbs are used only occasionally.
When taken in excess (longer and in higher doses than recommended) these herbs, then often labeled as Chinese diet tea, may lead to (chronic) diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach bleeding/cramps, fainting, dehydration and (chronic) constipation.
Not only you then may have to deal with one of these side effects of taking the laxative variant of Chinese diet tea,
IT ALSO DOESN’T HELP ACHIEVING YOUR MAIN GOAL…..
…TO LOSE WEIGHT!
- No weight loss at all: Laxatives work on the lower end of the bowel (the colon) instead of on the small intestine where calories are burned.
- Weight loss from dehydration: Laxatives may cause diarrhea or vomiting which sometimes leads to dehydration.
- Weight loss from muscles: Diarrhea block the body’s ability to absorb nutrients because food move too quick through the body. The body still needs nutrients so in order to get it, it starts to burn muscles, a high source of protein.
- Again, no weight loss: Less muscles lead to a lower metabolic rate and that means the body burns less calories (higher rates lead to burning calories even at rest).
Do what’s best for YOU!
Avoid the herbal Chinese diet tea and diet with green tea or oolong tea.
It may be slower…
but it’s definitely much healthier and gives better results.
TIPS when using the healthy Chinese diet tea with your diet:
- Select a good brand
(consult a dietician or doctor).
- Perform proper research before buying
(loose tea is less processed but a pill / capsule may still
contain larger amounts of antioxidants).
- Eat lots of fresh fruit and veggies.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Make sure you get plenty of exercise
(shouldn’t be too hard because the caffeine in tea BOOSTS
your energy, making it even easier)!
Chinese diet tea may help in losing weight but always combine it with a healthy lifestyle!
Always consult your doctor
before drinking tea for weight loss!
Always read all Chinese diet tea instructions
carefully before use!
Sources and Footnotes
1 Full-strength: 3g tea leaves in 300ml water, containing 48.7 mg EGCG and 53.7 mg caffeine per serving; Control beverages: half-strength oolong tea, water and caffeinated water; These beverages were consumed five times a day for three days as part of a controlled diet; Only normal weight males participated in the study.
2 Only 11 healthy normal weight women participated in the study; They drank water, oolong tea and green tea in random order; Oolong tea: 15g tea leaves in 300ml water, containing 77 mg caffeine and 81 mg EGCG per serving; Green tea: 5g powdered green tea in 300ml water, containing 161 mg caffeine and 156 mg EGCG per serving.
3 24-hour testing on healthy young men; Green tea extract: 2 green tea extract capsules containing 50 mg caffeine and 90 mg EGCG.
4Two green tea extract capsules, where each capsule contained 375 mg catechins, including 270 mg EGCG; Capsules were taken twice daily for 12 weeks as part of a regular, self-selected diet; There was no control group.
Dulloo AG, Duret C, Rohrer D, et al. 1999. Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 70:1040 –5.
Dulloo AG, Seydoux J, Girardier L, Chantre P, Vandermander J. 2000. Green tea and thermogenesis: interactions between catechin-polyphenols, caffeine and sympathetic activity. International Journal of Obesity Related Metabolic Disorders 24:252–8.
Komatsu T, Nakamori M, Komatsu K, et al. 2003. Oolong tea increases energy metabolism in Japanese females. The Journal of Medical Investigation 50:170 –5.
Rumpler W, Seale J, Clevidence B, et al. 2001. Oolong tea increases metabolic rate and fat oxidation in men. Journal of the American College of Nutrition: 131:2848 –52.
St-Onge M. 2005. Dietary fats, teas, dairy, and nuts: potential functional foods for weight control? The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 81:7–15.
Therapeutic Products Programme and the Food Directorate from the Health Protection Branch. Policy paper: nutraceuticals/functional foods and health claims on foods. Ottowa: Health Canada, 1998.