Oolong Tea For Weight Loss
It is no secret that losing weight can be hard. In recent years, researches and articles regarding oolong tea for weight loss have popped up, making people wonder if this Chinese tea is the ‘lose weight miracle’ that they have been waiting for.
Is Oolong tea good for weight loss?
Yes, it is. Studies have shown that this Chinese tea can help one lose a moderate amount of fat over some time (12). There are also Antioxidant properties in the tea, which may help with issues such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer. But, before delving further into the benefits of oolong tea for weight loss, we must first understand what it is and how it is made.
Mostly consumed in China and Taiwan, it came from the same plant that all teas come from. It is from the leaves, buds, and stems of the Camellia sinensis plant (11). What sets it apart, however, is how it is treated after harvesting.
For example, unlike fully fermented black tea, oolong tea goes only through partial fermenting (8). Partial fermentation means that oolong is partly oxidized. Due to this, it contains a higher amount of epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG than black tea (5).
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What is the difference between oolong tea vs green tea for weight loss?
As mentioned above, the process of preparing oolong tea after harvesting is what sets it apart from others. When it comes to green tea, once the leaves are harvested, they are quickly steamed to stop enzyme reactions. After this, they are then broken and crushed by hand to break down the cells within.
On the other hand, oolong tea is left to ferment under specific conditions. Once the fermentation process is complete, the leaves are neither broken nor crushed, leaving the cells intact (7), thus retaining its antioxidant and lipid-lowering properties.
Research done in 2007 proved that green tea had more catechins when compared to this semi-fermented oolong tea. However, the latter had a significant amount of polymerized polyphenols, which were absent in the former (4).
While green tea is effective for weight loss, oolong tea can be considered a better option. When ingested, these polyphenols may decrease the rate at which fats are absorbed into the body.
Has the Chinese oolong tea for weight loss worked for others?
Yes, it has. In 2006, a lab experiment done on rats showed a significant decrease in the cholesterol and overall weight after regular feedings of this tea (6).
In 2009, a study of overweight and obese persons in China concluded that 8 grams of oolong tea a day for 6 weeks could decrease body fat percentage and reduce body weight. They concluded that when consumed over a long period, this semi-fermented tea may be beneficial in the prevention of obesity (2).
How does Chinese oolong tea for weight loss work?
For those who are curious about how the oolong tea for weight loss works within our bodies, here are ways in which it helps fight against weight gain and obesity:
Digestive Enzyme Inhibition
Human beings digest fats and carbohydrates with the help of enzymes such as lipase, amylase, and glucosidase. These enzymes break down the nutrients in our digestive tracts where our bodies absorb the smaller particles into the bloodstream. The polyphenols in tea may act on these enzymes, preventing them from breaking down fats and carbohydrates as effectively, meaning that less calories are absorbed (1).
Modulation of gut bacteria
In recent years, research has found a correlation between gut bacteria imbalance and obesity. This is because some intestinal bacteria have shown to affect fat storage, blood-glucose balance, and hormones that influence hunger and satiety. The polyphenols in fermented teas like oolong may “feed” or promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut, helping to prevent the imbalance that may contribute to obesity or weight gain (5, 1).
Regulating Lipid Metabolism
Sometimes our bodies need a boost to remind them when to convert excess energy into fat and vice versa. Studies have found that teas high in polyphenols, (1) such as the beloved oolong tea, can remind our bodies’ energy-sensing mechanisms to make use of fats as energy instead of letting it accumulate.
It helps these energy-sensing mechanisms to work on undigested carbs in the intestines to produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). In turn, these short-chain fatty acids travel down to the liver and help regulate fat metabolism. This in turn might help with the reduction of fat stores in our stomachs, arms, and any other parts of the body.
Improving energy expenditure
All teas have caffeine in them. A side effect of using oolong tea for weight loss is that the caffeine ingested from it will increase your energy expenditure and fat oxidation for several hours after drinking it (9). Energy expenditure increases by about 3 to 7.6% after consumption of caffeine.
Due to this, you will be able to be more active during the day, hence, keeping you busy all day. This makes you move more and burn fat.
No extra calories
Unless you were to add sugar, honey, or other artificial sweeteners to it, oolong tea for weight loss is fantastic as it is a guilt-free drink.
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The Bottom Line
Oolong tea for weight loss has proven that it is not a fad, but a way in which both men and women can use to help decrease their body mass. Having this drink is a great starting point for your health journey. However, you should remember that exercise, a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep play more significant roles in losing weight and fat.
How to make oolong tea for weight loss?
If you would like to make some homemade oolong tea for weight loss, here are some ways in which you can do so. The steps are as follows:
Oolong tea bags
- In one cup of water, take a tea bag and dip it into the hot water.
- Cover the cup with a small lid or saucer to let the bag steep.
- After about two to three minutes, take out the small tea bag, stir, and enjoy your drink.
Oolong leaf tea
If you purchased the oolong tea leaves, the steps are as follows:
- Mix a teaspoon of oolong tea leaves in a cup of hot water.
- Steep it for about ten to 15 minutes.
- Strain the tea and allow it to cool slightly before drinking.
If you have an infuser, just boil the water and use one teaspoon of the leaves to one cup of boiling water. However, instead of steeping them for up to 15 minutes, just do this for two to five minutes.
Oolong leaf tea powder
Mix one teaspoon of the powder into one cup of hot water. Let the mixture steep for two to three minutes. Once time has passed, strain the tea and enjoy it.
For a better taste of the oolong tea for weight loss, you can:
- Add lemon juice to your cup and let it steep for three minutes. (You may also add a lemon wedge for garnish juice for the aesthetic.)
- As you boil your water, add a cinnamon stick and tea leaves to the pot, and let them come to a boil together. You could also use some cinnamon powder instead of the stick.
How to use oolong tea for weight loss?
From all the above-mentioned benefits of this tea, you must be wondering when to drink oolong tea for weight loss. Is it best to drink it in the morning or at night? Can you have it with meals? Can you have several cups during the day as you would your coffee cup?
The answer is “Yes” to all of the above. You do not have to restrict yourself to a specific timeline as you can consume this at any time of the day. You also can consume oolong tea for weight loss either alone or with meals regardless of the time of day.
Can I drink oolong tea every day?
In the case of pregnant women, you should not drink more than three cups of oolong a day due to its caffeine content. However, make sure to consult with your doctor first so as not to put yourself and your child in danger.
Also, it should be noted that while caffeine is not addictive in the same way that some drugs are, people have been known to become mildly dependent on it. If you were to drink a lot of oolong tea and suddenly stop, some of the side effects you can expect include irritability, difficulties in concentration, pounding headaches, unexplained fatigue and anxiety, and a depressive mood.
Take your oolong tea in moderation.
How often should you drink oolong tea for weight loss?
For most of the subjects in research cases, both men and women who participated in the tests noticed a change in about six weeks (1) of actively drinking the tea. Most of the participants (70%) recorded a loss of about one kilogram (2.2 pounds), while only a few (22%) shed up to three kilograms (6.6 pounds).
It should be noted that oolong tea for weight loss is not a miracle worker as one would hope. It is advisable also to change your diet to incorporate healthier foods. Exercise is also an important factor in overall weight reduction.
While it might push you to start the journey, a clean diet and regular exercise will help push you further and achieve your goals.
Other than weight loss, what are the other benefits of oolong tea?
Some people believe that this Chinese tea can help prevent illnesses such as heart disease, hyperlipidemia, osteoporosis, dermatitis, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, and tooth decay, although research has not been consistent or conclusive (11). It has also been associated with lower risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, as well as thought to provide a natural defense from the sun’s ultraviolet rays and can strengthen bones, although once again, research has yet to support these claims (8).
Among women, research has shown that those who drink all kinds of teas, green, black, or oolong, have a lower risk of ovarian cancer. However, more research needs to be done to provide more conclusive answers to the above benefits (11).
If you would like to stay more alert, a cup of oolong tea will help you out as well. The caffeine in it plays a big part in mental alertness.
What are the side effects of oolong tea?
As fantastic as this tea is, it also has some side effects when consumed in excess. The caffeine found in the drink has been said to cause (10) palpitations, lack of sleep or insomnia, increased nervousness and anxiety, tremors, headaches, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased bathroom breaks. It can also cause dizziness, ringing in the ears, seizures (convulsions), and confusion. If you are sensitive to caffeine, please stay away from this drink and look for other active measures to reduce your body weight.
Diabetes patients should use Chinese oolong tea with caution as it can affect their blood sugar levels. As for glaucoma patients, they must be especially aware that the caffeine in the drink can worsen their condition. Pressure in the eye can be caused due to oolong tea and can occur within 30 minutes, which can last for an hour and a half if not more (11).
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- A Review on the Weight-Loss Effects of Oxidized Tea Polyphenols (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Beneficial effects of oolong tea consumption on diet-induced overweight and obese subjects (2009, link.springer.com)
- Caffeine Facts: Addiction, Insomnia, Pregnancy Effects, and More (2019, webmd.com)
- Contents of Polyphenol and Caffeine in Oolong Tea and Green Tea Extracts (2007, researchgate.net)
- Facts About Oolong Tea and Weight Loss (2019, livestrong.com)
- Mechanisms of Hypolipidemic and Anti-Obesity Effects of Tea and Tea Polyphenols (2006, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Oolong Tea – an overview (2013, sciencedirect.com)
- Oolong Tea: Health benefits and risks (2017, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Oolong Tea Increases Metabolic Rate and Fat Oxidation in Men (2001, academic.oup.com)
- Oolong Tea: Uses and Risks (2019, webmd.com)
- Oolong Tea: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning (n.d., webmd.com)
- What is oolong tea and how can it help you lose weight? (2018, webmd.com)