Aside from its other health benefits, oolong tea has also been portrayed as an effective slimming concoction.
Is it? Or is this just another exaggerated claim made by dubious tea companies?
In order to find out, I highly encouraged you to read this article to get the whole picture.
Oolong tea (or wu-long tea) finds its roots in the Fujian province and was named after its creator. Like black, white, and green teas, oolong tea is also made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis. It tastes sweeter than other tea types because of its relatively shorter processing technique.
The Chinese has long believed that oolong tea could somewhat influence the body’s ability to shed off unwanted weight. How true is this? Let’s hear what the scientific world has to say about this.
What Scientific Studies Say about Oolong Tea for Weight Loss
Based on the studies available to the public, scientists discovered that there are two main active compounds, namely polyphenols and caffeine, which make oolong tea a good compliment to your diet regimen.
- Polyphenols – these are types of antioxidants that are present in most tea leaves. Polyphenols are also made up by a special group of catechins, epigallocatechin-gallate (EGCG), which increases the thermogenesis rate, thus burning more body fats in the process.
In a study published in The Journal of Medical Investigation, researchers tried to compare the effect of oolong tea and green tea on energy expenditure (the amount of energy the body needs to do important biological functions).
So they recruited eleven Japanese female college students, who were in good health condition. Potential test subjects who participated in physically-demanding activities, lost weight recently, and smoke were eliminated from the study.
On their first day of testing, subjects were given only water to drink, and then they were randomly divided into two groups after.
One group was task to drink oolong tea while the other green tea.
Their resting energy expenditure and energy expenditure were evaluated at different periods after drinking the treatment beverage.
Researchers found out that energy expenditure was higher after drinking oolong tea than that of green tea and water. What’s more, oolong tea has double the amount of polyphenols in comparison with green tea.
What do the results mean?
It simply means that oolong tea is an effective fat-burner because it contains high levels of polyphenols.
Caffeine in Oolong Tea
How much caffeine is contained in oolong tea? Well, it depends on different factors, such as the processing and steeping time.
Since oolong tea’s steeping time takes only around 60 seconds, don’t expect a lot of caffeine to be infused in your drink, which is a good thing if you’re not trying to lose weight.
Okay, as we all know, caffeine is a stimulant. Stimulants in turn are natural metabolism-boosters. That’s why drinking oolong tea can help your body burn some fats here and there.
And if EGCG and caffeine work together, they could augment breaking down of fats in your body to be used for energy.
More & More Research…
Perhaps one of the best studies I’ve found on oolong tea is that of William Rumpler and colleagues from the Diet and Human Performance Laboratory of the US Agricultural Research Service.
Same as the Japanese study I’ve previously mentioned, the researchers also wanted to know the effect of oolong tea on energy expenditure (EE). So, they enlisted the help of twelve male subjects, who avoided caffeine before the study.
During the actual test, the male volunteers were given 4 different beverage treatments:
- Full-strength tea,
- Colored water with the same caffeine content as the full-strength tea
- Half-strength tea
- Colored water. Drinking of beverage treatments went on for three consecutive days.
What happened after was this: The colored water treatment didn’t do any good in increasing EE.
The good news is that volunteers who drank the caffeinated water and full-strength tea experienced increased in EE by 3 % and burned an additional sixty-seven calories (on average) each day.
A more pleasant result of the study is that drinking full-strength significantly increased fat oxidation activities by 12%. Fat oxidation is the process of breaking down fats in order to be used up as energy by the body.
Was this because of the caffeine content in tea?
Well, researchers said that it wasn’t. Another component of tea—the name wasn’t mentioned in the study—was responsible for the increased breakdown of fats.
Does Oolong Tea Work or Not?
If used alone, it won’t cause significant weight loss. But when combined with your other weight loss regimen, drinking at least two cups of oolong tea every day will certainly help.
Admittedly, further studies still needs to be done, but the available early studies sound very promising.