White tea shows promise in slowing the growth of fat cells and may even stop new fat cells from forming, according to the article “White Tea: Solution To Obesity Epidemic?” published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism.
Dr. Adrienne Youdim, associate professor of medicine at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, discussed the importance of the white tea study in a newly published article in Reader’s Digest.
Other studies have looked at rat or mouse models, she said, and “while those studies are very helpful, we know that different species of animal may function very differently on a cellular level. So this study is important because they’re actually using human fat cells.”
In the Nutrition and Metabolism study researchers bathed human preadipocytes (stem cells that can develop into different kinds of cells, depending on how they’re triggered), in extracts of white tea to see how it affected the cells development into fat cells known as adipocytes, the Reader’s Digest article explained. They found that the solution slowed the growth of fat cells and even helped break down existing ones.
In their study the Nutrition and Metabolism researchers pointed out that white tea is the least processed form of tea and has high levels of EGCG and several other polyphenols such as epigallocatechin and epicatechin as well as the methylxanthines theobromine and caffeine.
Youdim cautioned that losing weight is not as easy as simply drinking more tea. “To say that one pathway is going to completely change the way that we, as human beings, preserve energy would be far-fetched.”
But she did note there have been other studies showing that 300mg of white tea (about one mug’s worth) can help suppress appetite and increase metabolism.
“Has that ever been shown to result in tremendous weight loss when nothing else was done? Of course not. But it can be one component, as part of a holistic lifestyle change that employs diet and exercise modification,” she said in the interview.