LOS ANGELES — A dose of English breakfast in the morning could help you keep off extra weight as the holidays approach. A new study finds that black tea consumption may be an effective aid in weight loss efforts, as much as the highly-touted benefits of the beverage’s green cousin.
Researchers at UCLA conducted an experiment with mice, finding that black tea changed their metabolic markers as much as green tea, although in different ways.
Namely, green tea’s polyphenols in previous studies were found to change energy metabolism in the liver, a result that was confirmed in this latest trial. The authors made the new discovery, however, that black teas promote the growth of gut bacteria and short-chain fatty acids, the latter of which have been linked to shifts in the liver’s energy metabolism.
“It was known that green tea polyphenols are more effective and offer more health benefits than black tea polyphenols since green tea chemicals are absorbed into the blood and tissue,” explains lead author Susanne Henning in a university press release. “Our new findings suggest that black tea, through a specific mechanism through the gut microbiome, may also contribute to good health and weight loss in humans.”
The researchers’ experiment split the mice into one of four dietary groups, including one that was low-fat, and two that were high-fat, but incorporated either black or green tea extract into a mouse’s diet.
Mice that had consumed either extract demonstrated similar levels of bacteria associated with weight loss and a leaner body mass after four weeks, the researchers found.
Notably, only mice that had consumed black tea extract had an increase in a specific bacteria named Pseudobutyrivibrio.
“The results suggest that both green and black teas are prebiotics, substances that induce the growth of good microorganisms that contribute to a person’s well-being,” says Henning.
The mice also saw their weights drop to levels comparable to rodents that consumed a low-fat diet during the study.
Ultimately, these findings prove that both green and black tea have health benefits extending beyond improved metabolism, the researchers argue.
“For black tea lovers, there may be a new reason to keep drinking it,” concludes Zhaoping Li, the study’s senior author.
Other studies this year have shown that consuming a cup of tea regularly can help keep away dementia, as well as reduce the risk of liver failure.
The full study was published Sept. 30 in the European Journal of Nutrition.