Green tea is good for you. I think just about everybody has heard that at one point or another. I’ve heard claims of boosting or prolonging active brain function, promoting heart health and helping keep the fat stores down, just for starters.
A new study from Penn State seems to back up that last claim of weight loss. Researchers handpicked a group of mice who seemed to enjoy using their running wheel more than their peers and used them for the study. Some of our Steve Prefontaines were ran a bunch on the wheel and nothing more, some of them were given decaffeinated green tea extract but denied their born free wheel excursions, and some were given the tea and allowed to run until their hearts’ content.
All were fed a diet high in fat, though I can’t access the journal article to figure out just how many calories they were taking in. Just because you eat a high-fat diet doesn’t mean you get fat, so long as you’re eating a reasonable number of calories. I’d be more wary of high-sugar diets, personally, but that’s neither here nor there.
The mice in the study got high-fat content food.
Those that took to the hamster wheel often and got the green tea extract showed marked improvements in all health indicators. What’s more, those benefits were clearly greater than either being on the tea extract or exercising alone. They reduced their body mass 27 percent and lost 36 percent of their belly flab. They also enjoyed a 17 percent reduction in fasting blood glucose level, a 65 percent decrease in plasma insulin level and reduction in insulin resistance of 65 percent—all substantial improvements related to diabetic health.
The study is interesting for several reasons. For one, the mice weren’t forced to exercise—instead they were chosen because they like to run naturally. In effect, the scientists removed one of the variables that would prevent the findings from translating to humans, since nobody is forced to exercise.
Two, the green tea extract was decaffeinated. So even if you’re averse to caffeine, this study can be applied to you. What’s more, caffeine is a natural metabolic booster, so caffeinated green tea should show even greater benefits.
Finally, the researchers gave the mice the human equivalent of 10 cups of tea per day.
Hold on. Say what now? Who the hell drinks 10 cups of tea per day? Maybe if you went out and found yourself some green tea extract to take as a supplement, I could see those levels. But can you imagine the costs incurred by drinking an entire Tazo box a day?
I for one would be all hyped up on green tea.
The study, “Voluntary exercise and green tea enhance the expression of genes related to energy utilization and attenuate metabolic syndrome in high fat fed mice,” was published by Joshua Lambert, associate professor of food science at Penn State, along with PSU colleagues Sudathip Sae-tan and Connie Rogers.