Obesity is a serious problem in our modern world and we are always looking for an "easy fix" to help us shed extra pounds. One of the latest weight loss trends is oolong tea. Will drinking oolong tea really help us lose weight?
Oolong tea is not a new product - it has a long history going back hundreds of years. Oolong tea probably originates in China's Fujian province, but it is now produced in Taiwan, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, India, as well as in China. Due to its geographical position and mountainous terrain, Taiwan produces some of the finest oolong tea in the world.
The Obesity Epidemic
According to the American Obesity Association, obesity "is the second leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. Approximately 127 million adults in the U.S. are overweight, 60 million obese, and 9 million severely obese."
These numbers continue to rise every year. The health risks associated with obesity include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, gallbladder disease, hypertension, liver disease, and stroke. In all, there are more than 30 medical conditions associated with obesity.
Obesity is not just an American problem. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that more than 1.2 billion people around the world are classified as overweight.
Faced with these startling facts, it's no wonder that governments and individuals are focusing their attention on weight loss. Products designed to help us lose weight "effortlessly" are a big seller, and new weight loss methods are presented with alarming frequency.
So where does oolong tea fit in? Is it a fad or is there some basis for the claim that oolong tea will help us lose weight?
Scientific studies have established that tea is high in health-promoting polyphenols that may protect us against cancer and other diseases. Oolong tea is particularly high in "polymerized polyphenols" which according to a 2003 Japanese study helps to increase energy expenditure.
This study found that energy expenditure increased by 10% for a period of 2 hours after drinking oolong tea. This was significantly higher than the energy expenditure observed after drinking green tea.
Another Japanese study found that oolong tea can suppress lipid metabolism which has the effect of suppressing fatty accumulation and body weight increases. The study concludes that long-term consumption of oolong tea is beneficial for the suppression of diet induced obesity.
Health-promoting compounds such as polyphenols and catechins are present in all types of tea, but hand picked oolong tea is the best source because the pickers are selecting the best leaves from the tea plant. Machine harvesting is indiscriminate - older leaves and twigs are harvested along with the newer leaves.
All the tea on the Tea from Taiwan website is hand-picked and hand processed. If you are primarily interested in oolong tea as a weight loss aid (rather than a gourmet food item) we would like to recommend our Four Season Oolong Tea. This is our most economical tea, but still an excellent hand processed oolong tea.
We would also like to draw your attention to our GABA tea. This is not oolong tea, but is a high grade tea that has been specially processed to increase the natural levels of GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid). GABA is an important amino acid associated with many potential health benefits including lowering blood pressure, relieving stress, and aiding in weight loss.
Oolong tea is not a miracle cure for weight problems. Weight loss involves following a sensible, healthy diet, and a change in lifestyle to include an adequate amount of exercise. Oolong tea may give you the extra boost to help in your weight loss plans, but it must be used as part of an overall strategy to improve your living habits.