Published in Applied Research
Black tea may help with weight loss

UCLA researchers have demonstrated for the first time that black tea may promote weight loss and other health benefits by changing bacteria in the gut. In a study of mice, the scientists showed that black tea alters energy metabolism in the liver by changing gut metabolites. The research is published in the European Journal of Nutrition.

The study found that both black and green tea changed the ratio of intestinal bacteria in the animals: The percentage of bacteria associated with obesity decreased, while bacteria associated with lean body mass increased.

Previous studies indicated that chemicals in green tea called polyphenols are absorbed and alter the energy metabolism in the liver. The new findings show that black tea polyphenols, which are too large to be absorbed in the small intestine, stimulate the growth of gut bacterium and the formation of short-chain fatty acids, a type of bacterial metabolites that has been shown to alter the energy metabolism in the liver.

"It was known that green tea polyphenols are more effective and offer more health benefits than black tea polyphenols since green tea chemicals are absorbed into the blood and tissue," said Susanne Henning, the study's lead author and an adjunct professor at the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, which is part of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "Our new findings suggest that black tea, through a specific mechanism through the gut microbiome, may also contribute to good health and weight loss in humans."

"The results suggest that both green and black teas are prebiotics, substances that induce the growth of good microorganisms that contribute to a person's well-being," she said.

Dr. Zhaoping Li, director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, chief of the UCLA Division of Clinical Nutrition and the study's senior author, said the findings suggest that the health benefits of both green tea and black tea go beyond their antioxidant benefits, and that both teas have a strong impact on the gut microbiome.

"For black tea lovers, there may be a new reason to keep drinking it," she said.

The findings build on a 2015 UCLA study that demonstrated that both green tea and black tea helped prevent obesity in mice that consumed a high-fat, high-sugar diet.

 

 

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