(Natural News) Want to slim down? Drink lots of green tea. A recent animal study showed that the beverage can improve the composition of gut bacteria in mice, which helps prevent obesity and related health issues.
Obesity is a pressing health concern in the United States and around the world. Obese people are more likely to develop diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and other major health issues than healthy people.
People steadily put on pounds due to a variety of reasons, making obesity difficult to stop. A simple method that reduces the risk and negative effects of obesity may help turn the tide.
In a recent study supported by The Ohio State University (OSU), researchers looked at the interplay between the active compounds in green tea and the bacteria that live in the gut. They wanted to see if tea could affect obesity and other related problems by altering the gut microbiome.
Existing scientific literature suggests that green tea can control inflammation and prevent obesity. However, results vary from experiment to experiment.
“Some seem to support green tea for weight loss, but a lot of other research has shown no effect, likely due to the complexity of the diet relative to a number of lifestyle factors,” explained OSU researcher Dr. Richard Bruno, who wanted solid proof. (Related: Compound in non-pungent peppers found to protect the liver, improve blood sugar, and reduce weight gain.)
Green tea extract helps reduce the effects of obesity on mice
Bruno’s team used mice for their study. They gave a standard diet to half of the male mice and fed fatty foods to the other half to induce obesity.
They added green tea extract to the food of half of the mice from each group. The feeding period lasted eight weeks.
Afterward, the researchers measured various factors. They evaluated gut permeability and inflammation in intestinal and fat tissue. They also looked at the composition of the gut microbiome and measured endotoxin concentrations in the bloodstream.
Leaky gut refers to the permeability of the intestinal lining. Studies suggest that it contributes to inflammation and other intestinal health problems.
Endotoxins are byproducts of gut bacteria. When they enter the bloodstream and move through the body, they give rise to inflammation and insulin resistance.
The researchers reported that green tea extract helped reduce the effects of obesity in mice. Animals that consumed the supplement together with fatty foods had 20 percent less weight than non-supplemented mice.
The mice fed green tea extracts also had decreased insulin resistance. One of the leading contributors to diabetes, insulin resistance prevents the body from responding properly to the hormone. This results in elevated blood sugar levels.
Drink around 10 cups of green tea each day to slim down
Mice that received green tea extracts and a high-fat diet also proved less vulnerable to leaky gut. The supplemented animals displayed lower inflammation levels and reduced endotoxin concentrations in the bloodstream. Their gut microbiome also showed a healthier balance between good and bad bacteria.
Green tea improved the health of mice that took the extract alongside a standard diet. Compared to the outcomes for the animals that consumed fatty foods, the benefits for the healthier mice were smaller but still substantial.
During the experiment, the mice consumed amounts equivalent to 10 cups of green tea for humans. Drinking that much green tea may seem daunting for many people, but many tea-drinking cultures consume that much every day.
“Two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese, and we know that just telling people to eat less and exercise more isn’t working,” Bruno said.
“It’s important to establish complementary health-promoting approaches that can prevent obesity and related problems,” he added.