Al Sears, MD
March 7, 2012
Did you know your body creates heat when you eat? It’s called diet-induced thermogenesis. This just means the creation of heat/energy by the foods that you eat. An example of this is when you get a little hot and sweaty eating a big meal.
Here’s what’s happening…
The level of insulin in your body increases when you eat certain foods. This creates energy or heat. And as your body temperature goes up, your metabolism starts to kick into high gear. When that happens, your body starts to use energy stored in fat cells to support this additional output.
The higher the thermic effect of the foods you consume, the easier it is to reduce fat. For example, fats are easily processed by your body and have little thermic effect. But proteins take longer to process and have a higher thermic effect than other types of foods. So eating a protein-filled diet helps trigger thermogenesis.
The problem is people have a hard time triggering diet-induced thermogenesis in our modern world. We eat processed foods without the proteins and fiber our bodies were designed to eat.
One simple way to activate thermogenesis is by drinking good old-fashioned tea.
And one type of tea in particular stands out from the rest when it comes to helping your body melt that excess fat.
It’s called oolong tea.
Oolong tea is halfway between green and black teas. And while it may not be in a class of its own, oolong tea is the best of both worlds, because you get the benefits of both.
When green tea is made, the tea leaves are dried, but still kept whole. And because of this technique, the leaves hold on to powerful antioxidants called catechins. The catechin in green tea is called EGCG. And EGCG is what helps your body trigger your internal thermogenesis switch to help your body heat up and melt fat for energy.1
Black tea is produced in a different way. The leaves are dried but then they are crushed up, which produces lots of different antioxidants called flavonoids. These antioxidants work in a different way to help you drop excess fat.
The catechins in green tea help you melt fat, but the flavonoids in black tea help you keep it off. Numerous studies show that these powerful antioxidants help block starches from being absorbed into your body.2,3 And if the starches aren’t absorbed, they can’t turn into fat.
Oolong tea falls somewhere in the middle of green and black.
The leaves of oolong tea aren’t whole and they aren’t crushed, either… they’re bruised. This method of preparation enables it to hold on to both the EGCGs of green tea and the flavonoids of black tea for a double attack on your fat cells.
So not only will you trigger thermogenesis, you’ll also be working to keep the starches from turning to fat in your body.
To get the most benefit, I suggest drinking 2 cups of oolong tea a day: one in the morning with breakfast and another with lunch.
Try it for yourself.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD
1. Borchardt, R.T. and Huber, J.A. “Catechol Omethyltransferase. Structure-activity relationships for inhibition by Flavonoids,” J. Med. Chem. 1975;18: 120–122
2. Koh, L., Wong, L., Loo, Y., et al, “Evaluation of different teas against starch digestibility by mammalian glycosidases”
3. Hursel, R., Westerterp-Plantenga, M. “Thermogenic ingredients and body weight regulation,” Int. J. Obes(Lond). 2010;34(4):659-69