Burn that Fat: 7.7% off waistline!
At times of festivals and reunions, upon scrumptious meals and excuses from the gym, how one wishes a cup of tea could get rid of all that extra fats and calories. Sadly, such miracle tea does not exist. The surplus fat matter-of-factly and securely deposits in the account statement that is the waistline, if not anywhere else.
7.7% of fat off waistline!
Well there is good news. In a 12-week study done in the US basing on 132 healthy but over-weight individuals, people who drank 625 mg of tea catechins daily AND exercised 3 times a week put off on average 7.7% (11.7% max, 3.8% min) of their abdominal fat, compared to 0.3% in those who exercised but did not have the tea drink (1). What is better — there was no special diet involved. This is in agreement with previous lab findings and studies of human subjects (1.1): tea catechins can protect the body from excessive fat.
This is only conditional, however: they exercised 3 hours a week and attended 3 instructed sessions. Persistence pays.
So how much tea should I drink?
Back to the practical question: so do we just pop in a 625 mg tea extract capsule to take care of the tea need? The drink that these proud experiment subjects took was a special mixture, including, amongst other things, 214.4 mg of EGCG (epigallocatechin 3-gallate) (2). Furthermore, we have no reasons to endorse the pill because we know meeting that dosage with real leaf tea is so easy so we do not have to feel like taking a medicine. It is unclear also whether taking extracts will have the same results.
According to the USDA Database for the Flavonoid Content of Selected Foods (3), the ‘mean’ content of EGCG in a cup of green tea is 116.7 mg (4). One may conclude that 2 cups of green tea will easily achieve that 215mg (rounded up) of EGCG daily intake. We think this is need some pretext.
Watch out for quality
Firstly, we all know that EGCG content is much higher in younger tealeaves than older ones: the substances is dispersed in the larger leaf size as the leaf grows, and some are turned into other substances. That is why younger leaves in green tea is a quality marker. In ancient times, green teas tribute to the imperial court were entirely first flushes in early Spring, comprising plucks each only of the leaf shoot and the first tiny half open leaf. The taste also marks a distinct difference.
Another element that lowers the tea polyphenol content in a produced tea is oxidation through exposure to air: bad storage is one cause, but the most commonly seen abomination is chopping the leaves into small pieces, as in teabag tea and machine harvested tea. The multiplied surface of the tealeaves with cut open leaf tissue expose the content to complete air oxidation. The USDA report points out the highest audited amount of EGCG in 100ml of green tea is 203mg, while the lowest can be 2mg.
Therefore, for health and for taste, always use well packed and well stored fine whole-leaf tea.