Lose weight - go green!!!
Losing weight is a resolution that many people will have
made at the beginning of the New Year, either for health or cosmetic reasons.
Many of these individuals will be tempted to try that "miracle pill" promising
long-term weight control; but caution should be exercised as few of these products
have any scientific justification. Current interest is focusing more on functional
foods that influence the sympathoadrenal system which controls the rate at which
we burn fat and generate heat (thermogenesis).
In a recent study, scientists examined whether Green
Tea could increase energy expenditure and thus reduce body weight by influencing
these processes through its caffeine or polyphenol content. The results
of the study showed that relative to placebo, Green
Tea extract (containing 50mg caffeine and 90mg epigallocatechin gallate)
increased 24 hour energy expenditure by 4.5%. Treatment with caffeine at the
same intake as provided by the green tea extract did not increase energy
expenditure significantly, suggesting that other components in green tea
are responsible for the reported action.
Scientists have suggested that Green
Tea may exert its benefits through its polyphenol content, which has
been shown to inhibit a key enzyme responsible for the degradation of noradrenalin
- a neurotransmitter involved in the control of thermogenesis and fat oxidation.
Realistically, the only way to lose weight is to do it steadily, sensibly and
by eating and living healthily. However, Green Tea
may be a useful and healthy adjunct for those who need that little bit of extra
help to achieve their slimming goal.
Am J Clin Nutr, 1999, 70:1040-5.
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