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There is such a lot interest in weight loss and oolong tea (a.k.a. wulong tea) that we are getting to check out research supporting the connection.

Let's start at the start 

All tea comes from one plant tea if it doesn't come from that plant it's not tea (herbs come from a spread of plants). Over time, the plant has protected itself from photosynthetic stressors by forming chemical compounds referred to as polyphenols. Polyphenols, which include flavonoids, have an equivalent beneficial class of compounds, antioxidants, that make fruits and vegetables good for you.

The difference in tea and oolong tea is processing. All tea is green when picked. tea is heated so as to halt the natural enzymatic reaction (oxidation) of the leaf. Once dried, tea leaves are then rolled intentionally breaking the cell structure. Oolong tea leaves are plucked, kept under carefully controlled conditions and allowed to oxidize. These leaves aren't intentionally broken, leaving most of the cell structure intact. These processing differences make each category of tea beneficially different albeit they are available from an equivalent plant.

The Weight Loss Connection

The two main ways to scale back food related weight are; increase energy expenditure (EE) and inhibit the absorption of nutrients, including fat and carbohydrates. Caffeine may be a stimulant so it's widely accepted that the caffeine in tea increases metabolism, hence increasing EE. therefore the question becomes, is it only the caffeine or are other compounds within the tea contributing thereto increase?

The Research

The Chinese have long believed that oolong tea is useful in reducing and maintaining weight. A Chinese study, in 1998, of 102 females showed that continuous consumption of oolong tea for 6 weeks resulted during a reduction of weight . This study, along side the question of other compounds contributing to tea's weight loss benefits, spurred further research.

In 2001, Physiologist Dr. William Rumpler, of the US Agriculture Research Services' Diet and Human Laboratory, investigated the traditional Chinese belief that oolong tea is effective in controlling weight . The study measured how tea influences energy expenditure (EE) and included 12 male volunteers who got 4 separate beverage formulas over three consecutive days. The beverage formulas consisted of; 1) full strength oolong tea, 2) caffeinated water with caffeine adequate to full strength oolong tea, 3) half strength oolong tea and 4) non caffeinated water.

The participants 24 hour EE was measured and resulted in;

- EE levels of about 3% higher once they drank either the complete strength oolong tea or the caffeinated water versus the non caffeinated water.

- Participants burned a mean of 67 more calories per day when drinking the complete strength oolong tea.

- Participants increased fat oxidation (fat burning) by a whooping 12% after consuming the complete strength oolong tea versus the caffeinated water.

- This data confirms that a component aside from caffeine is liable for promoting the preferential use of fat as an energy source. 

The increase in fat oxidation during this study is amazing! Drinking oolong tea can actually tell your body to burn fat for energy! Scientists then speculated that caffeine combined with EGCGs worked together to extend fat oxidation.

A Japanese study, conducted in 2003, went one step further comparing the advantages of oolong tea and tea on weight reduction. Eleven healthy young female students participated during this well controlled study. Participants received three different beverage formulas; 1) oolong tea, 2) powdered tea leaves and 3) water.

Both teas were prepared with boiling water. The oolong tea steeped for five minutes and therefore the powdered tea leaves were dissolved.

After measurements were taken, the results determined;

- Oolong tea had higher EE levels from starting to end and at intervals of 30, 60, 90 and 120 minutes. 

- EE levels peaked at 90 minutes for both oolong and tea and remained at their respective levels until 120 minutes.

- These results indicate that after consuming oolong tea you'll expend more energy then if you were to drink tea or water which it can last up to 2 hours. 

The concentrations of caffeine, individual catechins and other polyphenols were also measured producing these interesting findings;

- The caffeine and EGCG content was much higher within the tea versus the oolong tea.

- The concentration of polymerized polyphenols was significantly higher within the oolong tea versus the tea . 

These findings show that it is the polymerized polyphenols, highest in oolong tea, that link tea to burning fat, not just the caffeine or simply the mixture of caffeine and EGCGs. Furthermore, the remainder of the compounds compared within the teas were similar or adequate to each other with no marked differences, reinforcing the results.

We have shown that oolong tea significantly increases EE for up to the maximum amount as 120 minutes and may even promote preferential use of fat as an energy source making it a healthy tool for reducing and maintaining weight. So what about absorption of nutrients?

Oolong tea's effect on blocking the absorption of fats and carbohydrates is assumed to play a key role in its weight reducing benefits. While more studies got to be done, initial studies indicate that oolong tea has absorption blocking potential.

There are proven methods for losing weight and keeping it off; exercise, getting enough sleep and eating a diet . Oolong tea can enhance these positive changes and garner faster results.

Let's Face It

- Oolong tea isn't a fast fix despite the recent advertising claims by slick marketing "professionals." 

-Oolong tea doesn't need to be expensive to be effective. $39.95 is just too much to buy a 30 day supply of inferiority oolong. Remember to urge what you buy .

- These studies don't indicate that oolongs grown during a specific area are better fat burners than other oolongs. it is the processing that counts.

- Losing 20 lbs in 30 days by adding two cups of oolong tea to your daily routine is nothing quite hype. If this were true, I'd be a size 2. 

- If you were dieting, drinking oolong and exercising it might be hard to realize that much weight loss in 30 days.

- If it sounds too good to be true, then it's to good to be true! 

Oolong - The Facts

- Oolong teas taste great and are delicious hot or cold. 

- there's an incredible sort of affordable oolong tea. 

- Enjoy a cup of oolong half-hour to 1 hour before your walk, workout or yoga session and reap the rewards! 

- Drink oolong within the afternoon to debar late day sweet cravings and energy slumps. 

- All of those aid in healthy weight loss and maintenance 

© 2006 Teas Etc., Inc


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