In the United States, it is not uncommon for someone to have a tea stash in his or her pantry. That stash may consist of a healthy mix of black tea, green tea, white tea, and herbal teas. One tea that may be less likely to appear is Oolong tea. Popular in China, this tea accounts for only two percent of tea consumption in the U.S. compared to its more popular counterparts.
In the East, Oolong tea is believed to provide benefits to those seeking a weight loss tea. While medical experts in the West remain skeptical of this belief, research is being done in hopes of providing proof of Oolong’s weight management benefits along with insight into how it all works.
One recent study compared the effects of the caffeine-free polyphenol extracts of Oolong, green tea and black teas on fat deposition and inflammation in weight gaining wild mice. Interestingly, adding the polyphenol extracts to the high-fat/high-sugar diets of the mice significantly decreased their body weight, abdominal visceral fat, and biomarkers of obesity induced inflammation compared with mice fed a high-fat/high-sugar obesogenic diet alone. This is an important discovery.
The typical Western diet is obesogenic, in that it promotes weight gain and obesity. This is because the Western diet consists of cheap, convenient food that is laden with processed salts, saturated fats, and refined sugars. Food manufacturers include large amounts of these ingredients because they make convenience foods good tasting and shelf stable.
These two elements combined generate high profits for the food industry and high numbers on the scale for Americans. With an obesity epidemic on our hands due to our high consumption of convenience foods and our low levels of physical activity, the fact that Oolong tea can safely aid a person in their weight management goals is a much needed boon.