If you're looking for a little extra something to help you on your weight loss diet, it may be as simple as drinking a cup of oolong tea. The tea contains nutrients that may help boost your metabolism and burn fat. While the tea might help with your weight loss, it's not going to make up for a bad diet. Consult your doctor before making changes to your diet.
What Is Oolong Tea?
As with black and green tea, oolong tea leaves come from the Camellia sinensis plant. What differentiates the teas is the leaves' processing. Oolong tea leaves are slightly bruised or broken, which releases enzymes that cause some of the catechins to join together to create theaflavins and thearubigins. The leaves are then oxidized, which stops the action of the enzymes. By comparison, green tea leaves aren't bruised, while black tea leaves are fully rolled to maximize the enzymatic reactions. The processing changes the catechin profile of the different teas.
Oolong and Weight Loss
The catechins in the tea, also referred to as flavanols, play a major role in the link between tea and weight loss. According to a 2013 article published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, written by Rick Hursel et al., the catechins in the tea leaves increase energy expenditure, helping you burn extra calories. Less-processed teas contain higher amounts of catechins, say Hursel et al., which means oolong tea may be more effective at increasing your energy expenditure than black tea.
The caffeine in oolong tea may also help you burn fat, Hursel et al. continue. Oolong tea contains 50 milligrams to 75 milligrams of caffeine per 8-ounce cup, compared to 35 milligrams to 70 milligrams in the same serving of green tea and 60 milligrams to 90 milligrams in a cup of black tea.
Adding Oolong Tea
A 2009 study published in the Chinese Journal of Integrated Medicine written by R.R. He et al. found that drinking 8 grams of oolong tea a day, which is about 3 teaspoons of loose tea, helped overweight and obese subjects lose 2 pounds to 6 pounds over the six-week study period.
You can divide the 8 grams of oolong tea into two cups of tea. Enjoy one in place of your morning coffee and a second as part of your midafternoon snack. Drink plain or with a touch of nonfat milk to limit empty calories.
While oolong tea may assist in your weight loss by helping you burn calories and fat, it won't work if you don't also change your eating habits to create a negative calorie balance. According to Hursel et al., catechin-rich teas aid in the weight-loss efforts of those already following a reduced-calorie diet by preventing the drop in metabolism that occurs as you lose weight.
A healthy weight-loss diet involves decreasing the number of calories you consume and increasing the number of calories you burn through exercise. Creating a daily negative calorie balance of 250 calories can help you lose half a pound over a week.