White Tea Fights Obesity
September 3, 2009
By David Gutierrez
Regular consumption of white tea might help prevent obesity and encourage weight loss, according to a study conducted by researchers from the German health food company Beiersdorf AG and published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism.
“In the industrialized countries, the rising incidence of obesity-associated disorders including cardiovascular diseases and diabetes constitutes a growing problem,” said Beiersdorf nutritionist Marc Winnefeld. “We’ve shown that white tea may be an ideal natural source of slimming substances.”
Made from the same plant as other true teas such as green, black or oolong tea, white tea is brewed from undamaged leaves that have been only lightly steamed, rather than being fermented or allowed to wilt or bruise. It is typically made with the youngest leaves of the plant and may also contain unopened tea buds, which are covered with a downy white hair that gives the tea variety its name.
Researchers exposed laboratory-grown human fat cells (adipocytes) to an extract of white tea. They found that exposure to the tea extract led a decrease in activity among the genes associated with new adipocyte formation, “while also prompting existing adipocytes to break down the fat they contain.”
Scientists believe that because it is the least processed variety of tea, white tea contains the highest levels of health-promoting phytochemicals. The Beiersdorf researchers believe that methylxanthines and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) contributed to the effects seen in the current study.
The earliest evidence of white tea consumption dates to the Ming Dynasty, between 1366 and 1644 CE. It is now more popular in Western countries than in China. To prevent it from becoming bitter, white tea should not be brewed at any temperature higher than 180 degrees Fahrenheit (80C). The ideal tea to water ratio, according to experts, is 1.5 teaspoons per 200 milliliters (6.7 fluid ounces).
Previous research has linked white tea to lower blood pressure, increased bone strength and a reduced risk of cancer.