Identifying new weight loss strategies has become a major priority for researchers in recent years due to the overwhelming number of obese individuals in America. Many weight loss programs have been introduced throughout the years, most of them involving vigorous workouts, dieting, or a complete overhaul in lifestyle. Surprisingly, one of these methods had been hiding in your shelves all along. They come in tiny packets and are mostly consumed in the mornings -- the good ol’ black tea.
Statistics indicate that 80% of all tea consumed in the United States is black tea. Black tea is loaded with nutrients similar to white and green teas, but it wasn’t until recent years that black tea started gaining recognition for its weight loss benefits. Like green tea, black tea has a decent amount of caffeine, but flavonoids unique to the black tea show promise when it comes to shedding those extra pounds. You probably should start replacing your favorite beverages with black tea from here on out.
The Truth Behind Black Tea for Weight Loss
The history of tea goes back some 5000 years ago. Its early use was completely different from how we view tea drinking today. Back then, tea was taken as a concoction to keep one’s temperature up and was drunk primarily to benefit from its vital nutrients.
It wasn’t until many years later that tea became a beverage for leisure, with the introduction of innovative herbs, milk, and other mixes that make the traditional tea much more enjoyable to drink. But the truth is that tea is loaded with a lot of medicinal benefits.
Black tea, in particular, has become a popular choice for many tea lovers for its strong flavor. It is also known as the most oxidized variant of tea, but if taken in moderation, the strong antioxidants found in it could cause energy levels to spike, improve one’s immunity, heart health, control levels of cholesterol, and regulate one’s weight.
Flavonoids, which are the type of antioxidants found in tea, are the ones responsible for tea’s many health benefits. All types of tea are made from the same plant leaves, which means that all variants contain a group of flavonoids called catechins. In green tea, catechins are the primary flavonoids. When the leaves are processed to produce black tea, catechins produce new types of flavonoids called thearubigins and theaflavins. While catechins may still be present in black tea, its health benefits mostly come from its own set of flavonoids.
How Can Drinking Black Tea Help Boost Weight Loss?
Changes in Gut Bacteria
A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that black tea, along with the assistance of a specific mechanism through the gut microbiome, contributes to weight loss and good health. This mechanism is entirely different from the one practiced by green tea particles. The study also revealed that black tea decreased gut bacteria associated with obesity and increased gut bacteria associated with lean body mass.
Lowers Triglyceride Levels
The flavonoids found in black tea have been shown to lower visceral fats and triglyceride levels, as well as inhibit inflammation-induced obesity.
Black tea only has approximately 2 calories per cup. It also has zero percent cholesterol and saturated fat. If a cup of black tea is found to have more than 2 calories, it is usually linked to other products added to it such as milk, honey, or sugar. To get the best weight loss benefits from black tea, it is best to take it on its own.
Bear in mind that weight loss is effective only when something is taken moderately. In the case of black tea, this variant contains more caffeine than green tea and other kinds of tea. Don’t make the mistake of taking way too much caffeine because it will lead to dehydration.
Additionally, black tea has tannins, the substance responsible for its strong flavor. While tannins are present in many types of tea, black tea has it the most. Generally, tannins are harmless when consumed moderately, but too much of it can upset the stomach and cause nausea and vomiting.
Having said that, taking black tea as part of your weight loss regime should not be overdone. You should also make sure to keep the drink as pure as possible and shove aside anything fattening or sugary. Keep a count of your black tea intake as well.
What are the Benefits of Black Tea?
According to a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, caffeine in black tea may increase basal metabolism by 6 percent. Additionally, caffeine encourages the body to undergo lipolysis or the break down of stored fat, and stimulate cycles that metabolize fats. Caffeine may also help keep weight off for a longer period of time.
It’s important to note, however, that drinking more caffeine does not mean better metabolism. In fact, you can only consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day to be safe, which is 5 to 10 cups of black tea. Since a lot of products do not indicate the amount of caffeine per cup, it’s important to keep track of the amount of tea you consume daily. Those who are sensitive to caffeine should also be aware of the side effects and consume less. The same goes out to people with high blood pressure and irregular heart rhythm.
Reduces Calorie Intake
Your calorie consumption will be lessened if you use black tea as a replacement for your favorite drinks, which are often loaded with high amounts of calories. As mentioned, a cup of black tea only has 2 calories. If you add sweeteners and taste enhancers in it, the total amount should somewhere between 20 to 23 calories. By switching to black tea, a significant amount of consumed calories is reduced.
To compare, a large soda will give you more than 400 calories. A cup of sweetened cola has 100 calories, with the whole can amounting to 150 calories. Imagine the number of calories slashed off if you make the switch.
There’s also this trick of drinking water before meals to make the brain believe that you’re actually full, so when you eat, you consume less. This trick is backed up by two studies published in the journal Obesity, which found that those who drank cold or hot water before eating lost more weight, compared to those who didn’t drink anything at all. Doing this will also help the body burn more calories as the body metabolizes water.
While the studies used water as the drink of choice, it’s presumed that drinking black tea before meals may offer the same effect.
Chinese Black Tea Aids in Fat Loss
Black tea is named such because the leaves of the tea turn black once it's oxidized, which is needed to develop new flavonoids. When black tea is brewed, however, it loses its dark color and turns reddish, the reason why in China, it’s called red tea.
Chinese black tea is different from what we drink in the US. The same leaves are used, but the fermentation process is different. The leaves are fermented by microorganisms and aged for a very long period. The result is a tea that has a different flavor and a different set of flavonoids.
According to researchers, Chinese black tea extract is better when it comes to losing fat in the body in comparison to those who didn’t drink the concoction. The observation was made in a study published in the Nutrition Research Journal in 2011.
Chinese black tea is sold in many stores across America, so if the goal is to get rid of stubborn fat in the abdomen, thighs, or buttocks, you opt to choose Chinese black tea than regular black tea.
How Each Tea is Different
Regardless of the type of tea, they all have one thing in common -- they come from the leaves of the Camelia Sinensis. What makes them different from each other is how each tea is processed.
This is commonly used in making iced tea and the tea variant often served in Chinese restaurants. Black tea is fermented -- a process responsible for the leaves dark color and increases its caffeine content.
Black tea offers a rich and strong flavor and is already making a name for itself in the world of weight loss due to its capability of altering the way fats are absorbed in the gut.
To make sure that black tea helps you in your weight loss journey, stay away from any form of flavor enhancers such as milk, honey, or sugar.
Green tea, which has set the standards for tea when it comes to weight loss, doesn’t undergo the process of fermentation. The leaves are simply steamed and crushed manually. This type of tea is high in EGCG, a type of catechin that helps the body lose weight. Some studies have found that the EGCG in green tea can help shed a minimum of 3 lbs over a course of 3 months.
To get optimum amounts of this catechin, you should drink about seven cups of green tea daily. Take note, however, that green tea extracts are much stronger and if taken in high amounts, can be a cause of liver damage.
White tea is the variant that undergoes the least processing and offers a sweeter and lighter taste. While it is pleasing to the palate, how effective is white tea when it comes to losing weight?
Fortunately for weight watchers, white tea can also help in breaking down fat stores in the body and what’s more, block the formation of new fat cells.
Oolong tea is made from manually dried tea leaves. The leaves of this variant are often laid out in the sun. Similar to green tea and black tea, oolong tea is high in catechins, which means that it can also help in getting rid of fat and preventing the body from gaining more weight.
Making the Perfect Cup of Black Tea for Weight Loss
Tea lovers and even those not so keen on tea drinking know for a fact that tea is very simple to make. But in order to drink the very best black tea there is, you should focus on timing and precision.
There are three things you need to gather: water, tea leaves, and a sweetener if you want to. Once you have all these things, start making the perfect cup. To do this, get a saucepan and add water. The amount depends on the number of cups you need to make. Add sugar or cubes in the water and heat it over medium flame for about two minutes or so, while stirring it now and then.
When the water starts to boil, sprinkle the tea leaves on it. Stir it over medium flame for another two minutes. Check for the right color and consistency. When done, strain the black tea and enjoy your fresh cup.
A general rule of thumb on making tea is that you must steep the tea for about 3 to five minutes. But this still depends on your preference, if you want a milder or stronger brew. You also have to consider the quality of tea leaves used.
To make a stronger brew, do not cook the tea longer -- this will only make the tea bitter. Instead, use more tea leaves. Keep in mind that low water temperature may not give you the best flavor, so make sure that the tea boils at least two times before taking it out.
In making black tea, never use distilled water, as this will result in a flat and rather tasteless black tea. Always use fresh water, one that hasn’t been boiled yet.
The Final Word on Black Tea
Your black tea can be taken in the mornings, paired with toast, or in the afternoon, as the English do. Enjoying a fresh cup each time is safe, as long as your body can take caffeine well, meaning, it doesn’t cause you palpitations or make you jumpy.
Black tea for weight loss is actually a thing, and along with that is the benefit of getting a lot of nutrients each time you drink. A few cups of daily black tea could be the thing lacking in your weight loss regime. But don’t expect instant or drastic effects from a teacup. If you truly want to lose weight, incorporate black tea into your daily routine along with proper diet, rest, and exercise.