Green tea gets all the glory when it comes to health drinks. But if you’re a regular Healthier Talk reader, you know humble black tea brings a bunch of health benefits to the table too.
In fact, we recently shared some of those benefits with you, from supporting your heart health to managing blood sugar. (If you missed it, you can click here to catch up.)
But now UCLA researchers say they’ve uncovered yet another black tea benefit. And you’re going to love it!
According to the new animal study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, black tea could help us fight fat and slim down too.1
Fight fat promoting bugs with black tea
It turns out both green and black teas are prebiotics and support a healthy gut flora balance. In lab animals, the teas slashed the number of gut bugs linked to obesity, while bumping up the number of those that are associated with being slim at the same time.
From earlier research, we already knew that our livers readily absorb the polyphenols in green tea. There they alter energy metabolism to help us lose weight.
But the polyphenols in black tea are too big to be absorbed in the intestines. Which means black tea never got any credit for helping us to fight fat and slim down… until now.
UCLA scientists were able to show that the polyphenols in black tea trigger gut bugs to grow and short-chain fatty acids to form. And those short-chain fatty acids then alter energy metabolism in the liver, similar to the green tea.
In other words, the black tea takes an extra step, but still delivers some of the same weight loss benefits as green tea.
Black and green teas fight fat and lead to weight loss
For the study, the researchers divided mice into four different groups. Each group got a different diet.
One group also received a green-tea supplement, and one got a black-tea supplement.
- Group 1: High-sugar, low-fat diet
- Group 2: High-sugar, high-fat diet
- Group 3: High-sugar, high-fat diet with black-tea supplement
- Group 4: High-sugar, high-fat diet with green-tea supplement
After just four weeks on the diet, to everyone’s surprise the weight of the mice getting the tea supplements plummeted to the same level as those on the low fat diet.
But as impressive as that was, the surprises didn’t end there.
Obesity bugs slayed with black tea
When the UCLA scientists measured the rodents gut flora, and the fat deposits in their livers, the revelations continued.
In both the green-tea mice and the black-tea mice, they found significantly fewer “fat promoting” obesity bugs. At the same time there were far more lean-body-mass bacteria.
And don’t forget those same black tea polyphenols are powerful anti-aging antioxidants too. Which means they can help fight the free-radical damage that triggers age-related diseases including Alzheimer’s, heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and cancer.
So if you’re a black tea fan, bottoms up. Your favorite brew could be helping you fight fat, maintain a healthy weight and slow aging.
1. “Decaffeinated green and black tea polyphenols decrease weight gain and alter microbiome populations and function in diet-induced obese mice,” Eur J Nutr (2017), pp 1–11