|Image 1: Mate tea, which is made of the dried leaves and twigs of Ilex paraguariensis, a shrub or small tree native to subtropical South America, has long been touted as a useful weight loss tool (img Ilosuna, Wikipedia)|
Yerba Mate yet another super tea!?
If you take a closer look at the literature the purported (and mostly experimentally verified) health effect of Ilex paraguariensis are about as numerous as the purported (and mostly unverified) "weight loss secrets" you read about all over the web, these day:
- mild CNS stimulant
- potent antioxidant activity
- anti-inflammatory effects
- inhibition of atherosclerosis
- management of obesity
- lipid reduction
- anti-mutagenic effects
- anti-glycation effects
- increases AMPK activity*
*click here to read all about AMPK
|Figure 1: Main organic components of Ilex paraguariensis extract (Bracesco. 2011)|
Fat, appetite or leptin reduction - which comes first?
In view of this extensive list of health benefits, it should not surprise you that the recently published study by Kang et al. is not the first to report potential weight loss effects of mate tea or respective extracts. In fact, people have been guzzling mate for quite some time now, and I have read numerous reports of how a few cups of mate tea per day helped people stick to their diet.
|Figure 2: Food intake (in kcal, left) and body weight (relative to control, right) of obese (HFD) and normal weight (normal) mice after 4 weeks on normal or 60% fat diet (data adapted from Kang. 2012)|
|Figure 3: Organ and fat weight (relative to non-obese mice in control group) after 4 weeks of HFD + 0.5, 1.0 or 2.0g/kg mate extract (data calculated based on Kang. 2012)|
|Figure 4: Adipocyte size, leptin and blood glucose levels (relative to normal-weight control on std. diet) after 4 weeks of HFD + 0.5, 1.0 or 2.0g/kg mate extract (data calculated based on Kang. 2012)|
Calories count, but counting does not work
|Image 2: Yerba mate won't allow you to binge all day, but it may help you to reduce the desire to do just that.|
Eventually, it does yet not really matter, because if - as I believe - the restoration of leptin to normal levels is a secondary effect of weight loss, the most important message of this study is not that drinking liters of mate tea will help you lose weight, but rather that losing weight will restore your leptin sensitivity and if that is the case, you do not even need a pill (RX or not ;-) to get back in shape.... apropos "in shape", if this is your current goal make sure to come back over the Easter holidays for the fat loss installment of the "Step By Step Guide to Your Own Workout Routine"!