Next time you go to grab a cup of joe, you may want to reach for a cup of tea instead. A new study published in the European Journal of Nutrition suggests that drinking hot tea may help you prevent obesity and metabolic syndrome (MetS). MetS is a name for a group of risk factors that increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
Aside from water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world. Tea (Camellia sinensis) can be divided into at least six different categories based on how it’s processed. This study focused on the three most popular types of tea, black, green and oolong.
The study was conducted to determine the relationship between tea consumption and indicators for MetS in a sample of adults from the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data. The study included both men and women who were at least 18 and who represented various percentages of races and body types, similar to those found in the general U.S. population.
Participants were grouped by their hot and cold tea consumption. The groups included noncosumers, infrequent consumers (one of less cup a week), weekly consumers (two to six cups a week), one cup a day consumers and more than one cup a day consumers.
The researchers examined the association of tea consumption with body max index (BMI), waist circumference, fasting glucose, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C, also known as “good” cholesterol), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C, also known as “bad cholesterol), serum triglycerides (TG’s) and C –reactive protein.
For those unfamiliar with the term, BMI is a measure of body fat based on an individual’s height and weight. There are standard BMI numbers to determine what is considered underweight, normal weight, overweight and obese. These numbers apply to both men and women.
The skinny on their findings
The authors reported that hot tea consumption was inversely associated with BMI in both men and women. Both men and women with the highest rate of tea consumption, more than one cup of hot tea a day, had the lowest BMI out of all the people in the survey.
The authors’ findings also indicated a decrease in waist circumference and C –reactive protein in both men and women who drank the most tea. C –reactive protein is a protein found in the blood. Levels of CRP rise in response to inflammation. By helping to reduce C –reactive protein, this study suggests that hot tea consumption may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular events.
Iced tea consumption was also examined, but the results showed something different. Iced teas consumption was associated with an increase in WC and BMI in both men and women. Part of this could be because many cold tea products on the market contain sweeteners making them more high-in-calories than their hot counterpart. No association between iced tea consumption and CRP was reported.
On your take a coffee break, think about making the switch to tea. It’s simple, delicious and may help you shed a few extra pounds just by taking a sip.