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Green tea extracts plus exercise may boost fat metabolism

04.17.2014


Combining exercise with extracts from green tea may slash body mass by almost 30% and abdominal fat by almost 40%, according to a study with mice fed a high-fat diet.

Sixteen weeks of the green-tea-extract-and-exercise regimen also led to significant reductions in fasting blood sugar levels (17% reduction) and insulin levels (65% reduction), according to findings published in Molecular Nutrition Food Research.

On the other hand, green tea alone or exercise alone led to smaller changes in weight and health measurements, report researchers from Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

“What is significant about this research is that we report for the first time that voluntary exercise in combination with green tea extract reduced symptoms of metabolic syndrome and diet-induced obesity in high-fat-fed mice more significantly than either treatment alone,” said Dr Joshua Lambert, associate professor of food science and lead researcher.

“The changes in body weight and body fat may result from increased fat metabolism and decreased fat synthesis. Green tea seems to modulate genes related to energy metabolism.”

Tea benefits

The study adds to an ever-growing body of science supporting the potential benefits of green tea and its constituents, most notably EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). To date green tea has been linked to a reduced risk of Alzheimer's and certain cancers, improved cardiovascular and oral health, as well as benefits in weight management.

Green tea contains between 30% and 40% of water-extractable polyphenols, while black tea (green tea that has been oxidized by fermentation) contains between 3% and 10%. Oolong tea is semifermented tea and is somewhere between green and black tea. The four primary polyphenols found in fresh tealeaves are epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG),

and epicatechin (EC).

While the Penn State study was performed with mice Dr Lambert said that people may realize similar benefits.

“I think we can make that leap,” he said. “When we put together our animal model experiments, we try to mimic the human situation as much as possible, so the dose of decaffeinated green tea that we used in this study is the equivalent of 8 to 10 cups of green tea a day, which is a lot for some people. But there are many people out there who are heavy, regular tea consumers.”



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