Black tea may boost weight loss by altering gut bacteria

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Image: Getty Images
Image: Getty Images

Though black tea is often overshadowed by green tea when it comes to known health benefits, researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have claimed that it may be just as effective when it comes to shedding those extra kilos.

In a study of mice, scientists showed that black tea alters energy metabolism in the liver by changing gut metabolites. They also found that both black and green tea changed the ratio of intestinal bacteria in the animals - the percentage of bacteria associated with obesity decreased, while bacteria associated with lean body mass increased.

"It was known that green tea polyphenols are more effective and offer more health benefits than black tea polyphenols since green tea chemicals are absorbed into the blood and tissue," said study lead author Adjunct Professor Susanne Henning. "Our new findings suggest that black tea, through a specific mechanism through the gut microbiome, may also contribute to good health and weight loss in humans.

"The results suggest that both green and black teas are prebiotic substances that induce the growth of good microorganisms that contribute to a person's wellbeing."

Previous studies indicated that chemicals in green tea called polyphenols are absorbed and alter the energy metabolism in the liver. The new findings show that black tea polyphenols, which are too large to be absorbed in the small intestine, stimulate the growth of gut bacterium and the formation of short-chain fatty acids, which have been shown to alter the energy metabolism in the liver.

The full study has been published in the European Journal of Nutrition.

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