|Tea catechins (which can also be found in black and jasmin tea | see Figure 3) can help you keep particularly unhealthy abdominal fat (Després. 2012) at bay.|
Ok, the abdominal fat loss does not, as the previous quote from the conclusion appears to suggest, occur instantly right after you've consumed your first tea w/ a single meal.
Rather than that, 124 subjects (two of the initially 126 subjects 2 dropped out for personal reasons unrelated to the trial), 53 men, 71 women, who consumed similar, albeit non-standardized diets (see Figure 1 | note: physical activity was also identical) and began the study with body fat levels of ca. 31-35% had to consume the previously mentioned tea beverage that contained tea catechins (250 mL with 215.3 mg green tea catechins containing 211.0 mg green tea catechins with a galloyl moiety) twice or three times daily during mealtimes for 12 weeks, before the significant reduction in body fat became visible.
|Figure 2: Detailed analysis of the rel. change in fat area in the abdominal depot of the subjects (Kobayashi. 2015)|
What about weight and, even more importantly, muscle loss? No, losing lean mass was not an issue in, because weight loss (-0.6 and -0.8% in the low and high dose group, respectively | measured by bio-electrical impedance vs. computer tomography as it was the case for the abdominal fat area) was actually not an issue, either. If you want to measure your success on the scale, green tea is thus not going to be the "diet tool of choice" (unless you use it alongside an energy-reduced diet)... however, if you take into account that the placebo group actually did what the average Westerner does, these days, i.e. gain weight and body fat over the 12-week study period, you may argue that you can still see the results on the scale which could finally stand still after years of displaying subtle, but eventually relevant increases in body weight.The authors base their conclusion that it is "unlikely that absorbed green tea CGM leads to increased energy expenditure, followed by reduced abdominal body fat area" (Kobayashi. 2015) on two reasonable, but experimentally (in this study) not confirmed assumptions which are that little to no catechins actually made it into the bloodstream, because ...
- the low caffeine content of the beverage limits the bioavailability of EGCG & co (caffeine enhances its bioavailability | Nakagawa. 2009) and
- the ingestion of the beverage with a meal has been shown to significantly reduce the bioavailability of green tea catechins in comparison to the fasted state (Chow. 2005).
- Table 1: Catechin composition of the test beverages.
- roughly 50% of the benefits were lost within only 5 weeks when the subjects stopped consuming the green tea beverage, even though their diet didn't change at all (in fact, they consumed minimally less energy in the withdrawal phase from week 12-17).
Now, (b) is obviously good news for green tea lovers, but bad news for those who cannot imagine consuming green tea containing beverages "for the rest of their lives".References:
- Bronner, W. E., and G. R. Beecher. "Method for determining the content of catechins in tea infusions by high-performance liquid chromatography." Journal of Chromatography A 805.1 (1998): 137-142.
- Chow, HH Sherry, et al. "Effects of dosing condition on the oral bioavailability of green tea catechins after single-dose administration of Polyphenon E in healthy individuals." Clinical Cancer Research 11.12 (2005): 4627-4633.
- Després, Jean-Pierre. "Body fat distribution and risk of cardiovascular disease an update." Circulation 126.10 (2012): 1301-1313.
- Kobayashi, Makoto, et al. "Green tea beverages enriched with catechins with a galloyl moiety reduce body fat in moderately obese adults: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial." Food & Function (2016).
- Nakagawa, Kiyotaka, et al. "Effects of co-administration of tea epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) and caffeine on absorption and metabolism of EGCG in humans." Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry 73.9 (2009): 2014-2017.