Losing weight is a topic on the mind of many. It’s no secret that long term weight loss and maintenance require long term life changes. In order to successfully lose weight and keep it off you must consume fewer calories each day than your body uses. This allows your body to use stored fat as energy, rather than food.
So, eating less is just half the equation. Since you can only reduce your calorie intake by so much, it’s critical to also increase the amount of calories your body uses each day. This is why exercise is so important. Exercise burns calories while you’re exercising, but also increases your metabolic rate for several hours after you finish.
Exercising by lifting weights can also help increase your metabolic rate in the long term. Because muscle requires more calories to maintain, even when resting, building muscle is a great way to help ensure that you burn more calories all the time.
So, as you’re attempting to lose weight, it’s important to pay attention to increasing your metabolism. Part of this equation includes not decreasing your caloric intake too drastically. When you significantly reduce the number of calories you’re consuming, your body begins to go into starvation mode, actually conserving calories and fat. This can stall your weight loss progress.
A better way to lose weight is to reduce your calorie intake somewhat, but to put the bulk of your effort into increasing the number of calories you burn each day. Exercise is the most important way to do this, but there is another way that you can increase your metabolic rate that many people don’t know about.
The secret is tea. Several studies have shown tea to have the ability to aid in weight loss by raising your metabolic rate. In addition, tea seems to inhibit the absorption of the fat in your diet, which may help you lose weight, as well.
This ability to limit fat absorption may also be one of the reasons that tea consumption seems to lower cholesterol. When triglycerides (a form of fat) rise, cholesterol rises, too.
However, it is likely that the most important quality that tea possesses for aiding weight loss is its ability to impact metabolism. It has long been believed by the Chinese that tea helps with weight control, but there has not been a great deal of research on the subject.
However, with all the recent attention that tea has garnered for its ability to reduce aging and prevent disease, more research is being done on all of tea’s potential.
For example, there have been many studies that suggest that tea, particularly green tea, can prevent heart disease and cancer. Tea is a potent source of anti-oxidants, which scientists have discovered are keys to health.
Anti-oxidants are important because they fight the free radicals created as a by-product of the digestive process. Free radicals are oxygen containing molecules that damage cells and DNA if left unchecked. However, a regular diet of anti-oxidants can stop the free radicals from damaging our bodies.
Anti-oxidants are found in many plant sources, including fruits and vegetables, but none are more potent than those in tea. For this reason, tea has gained a great deal of attention for being a healthy beverage.
One study, conducted by the University of Tokushima in Japan, attempted to verify tea’s effect on the body’s energy expenditure, or the number of calories burned. The study was conducted on men, who did not consume any caffeine or flavonoids (the anti-oxidants in tea) for four days prior to beginning the study.
The study lasted for three days, during which the subjects consumed a typical American diet. Each subject was evaluated prior to the study to get a measure of his normal daily energy expenditure. The subjects were divided into four groups. The groups were given one of four regimens:
• Full strength tea
• Half strength tea
• Water containing 270 mg of caffeine (approximately the same amount found in the full strength tea)
The study found that, compared to the men who drank water, the men who drank full strength tea showed an energy expenditure increase of 2.9%, and the men who drank caffeinated water had an increased energy expenditure of 3.4%.
However, the men who drank full strength tea also had an increased fat oxidation of 12% over the water drinkers. This fat oxidation increase was not shown in the men who drank caffeinated water.
So, this study suggests to us that caffeine does help speed up the metabolism. However, it also tells us that it is not just the caffeine alone that makes tea an effective weight loss aid. Other components in tea, likely the anti-oxidants, are responsible for tea’s ability to oxidize fat in a way that caffeine alone cannot.
Tea is a healthy drink, and, worldwide, is the second most consumed beverage, after water. So, using tea as a weight loss aid is a safe way to help increase your chances of losing those excess pounds. If tea isn’t already part of your weight loss plan, why not add it today?
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