Two cups of green tea daily results in more brown fat
If you drink two cups of green or white tea every day, the amount of brown fat tissue in your body will increase. And that could be interesting for people who want to lose some body fat. Brown fat cells not only store fat, but also burn it and convert it into heat.
The researchers did experiments with 22 female students over a period of 12 weeks. They gave half of the students 540 mg catechins and 80 mg caffeine every day, and the other half a placebo with a small amount of caffeine. And no, the Japanese were not sponsored by a manufacturer.
The researchers describe the catechins as "catechin, catechin gallate, gallocatechin, gallocatechin gallate, epicatechin, epicatechin gallate, epigallocatechin, and epigallocatechin gallate". Green or white tea, we reckon. The amount of catechins and caffeine they used is what you'd find in two cups of green or white tea.
During the experiment the researchers used near-infrared time-resolved spectroscopy to measure the amount of haemoglobin in the students' fat deposits in their backs. This way the Japanese could determine how much of the fat tissue consisted of brown fat. Brown fat cells burn fatty acids, which they need oxygen for, so brown fat tissue contains more haemoglobin than white fat tissue does.
Brown fat tissue
Humans are born with large quantities of brown fat in their upper body, but lose most of this as they grow up. Recent studies have shown that the amount of brown fat increases again when people are exposed to cold and - to a lesser extent - when they are exposed to different substances. Whether manipulation of brown fat, as some people do when dieting, is really effective is not yet clear.
The catechins increased the amount of brown fat tissue by 18 percent in the body area that was examined.
The researchers did not investigate whether the participants in the experimental group actually produced more heat or started to burn more fat.
"Our results indicate that repeated ingestion of a catechin-rich beverage increases brown adipose tissue density evaluated by near-infrared time resolved spectroscopy method," the researchers wrote. "Although the degree of increasing in brown adipose tissue mass was smaller than previous cold exposure studies, the result of this study widens the choice of methods for increasing brown adipose tissue activity/mass."
"Daily ingestion of a catechin-rich beverage may be useful as an easier and more convenient treatment than chronic cold exposure once the effectiveness for the increase in brown adipose tissue."
Springerplus. 2016 Aug 18;5(1):1363.
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