Finally, A New Year’s Resolution You Can Drink To: Tea
Millions of Americans look forward to the New Year with a list of good intentions to improve their quality of life. Of the millions of resolutions to lose weight and eat healthier, most will not last much past January 2. But one tasty vow of self-improvement can easily last a lifetime: Drink more tea.
Adding to the substantial body of evidence that tea may confer a wide array of potential health benefits, more than 100 research articles were published in 2006. These studies provide further support to the notion that tea can support a healthy cardiovascular system, may help the body fight certain types of cancer, and may be helpful to combat the rising epidemic of type-2 diabetes. Several studies also showed that calorie-free green tea may play an important role in helping maintain a healthy weight and body shape through its unique effects on energy metabolism.
“While losing weight is among the most common New Year’s resolutions, few individuals are able to stick with their New Year’s ‘diets’ for any significant amount of time, making lasting weight loss a losing proposition,” said Joe Simrany, President of the Tea Council of the USA. “Adding tea as part of a healthy diet may be one of the healthiest choices to start this year to help manage weight and maintain a healthy heart.”
Tea Boosts Metabolism, Aids in Weight Loss
There are many reasons why New Year’s Resolution diets fail, including the fact that losing weight often requires eating or drinking foods and beverages that dieters do not like or that do not fit their lifestyles. Unlike many “diet” foods, tea is great-tasting and doesn’t make consumers feel that they have to sacrifice taste or enjoyment in order to win at losing weight. Recent studies suggest that drinking tea is a great choice as part of a diet and lifestyle to manage weight. Studies suggest that the catechins in tea may help improve body composition by reducing abdominal fat. Recent findings include:
- A study that found that individuals who drink tea were more likely to eat healthier diets that contained less fatty foods and more fruits and vegetables.
- A human pilot study with green and black tea where researchers showed that as tea is metabolized, it accelerates the metabolism of
carbohydrates and fats and the effects are different than what you would find with caffeine alone.
- An animal model study where green tea was shown to increase the metabolic rate and to boost fatty acid oxidation and increase
endurance, possibly by aiding the body to burn more fat while sparing carbohydrate. This is especially important when losing weight because as one gets thinner, their metabolic rate naturally declines. However, if drinking tea results in a boost to the metabolic rate, this could support healthy weight loss and maintenance.
Tea Shines in Healthy Beverage Guidelines
“You are what you drink” may be the more appropriate expression than “you are what you eat.” Currently, Americans get more than 20 percent of calories from beverages, double what health experts believe should come from beverages. In 2006 a team of nutrition experts convened to create Healthy Beverage Guidelines to advise Americans on how to make wiser beverage choices. As published in a recent issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the Guidelines specify that in order to combat obesity Americans must take the majority of their daily fluids in the form of water and non-caloric tea or coffee, with fewer beverage servings coming from non-fat or low-fat dairy drinks and 100% fruit juices. The Guidelines further advise that soda and other beverages that do not contribute nutritional value to the diet should be limited the most (to no more than one serving per day).
“A resolution to simply follow the recommendations of the Healthy Beverage Guidelines which include decreasing the intake of caloric beverages while increasing the consumption of non-caloric beverage like brewed and calorie free tea products are simple steps that can help people manage their weight,” said Douglas Balentine, Ph.D., Director Nutrition and Health, Unilever North America.
Tea and a Healthy Heart
Many studies in 2006 reaffirmed the array of potential health benefits attributed to tea drinking, and especially those related to a heart health. Highlights include:
- A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association which found green tea drinking significantly reduced the risk of all – cause mortality by 16 percent and cardiovascular disease by 26 percent among those who drank the most green tea compared to those who drank the least.
- Another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association