When considering some of the rather lofty health claims made for certain products – yes, tea is among them – it’s a good idea to proceed with a degree of caution. There’s no shortage of apparently valid studies that indicate that tea does have some health benefits. On the other hand there are merchants and marketing whizzes who don’t shy away from exaggerating these benefits in the service of selling more of their products.
One type of tea that seems to be particularly prone to this sort of flim-flammery is oolong. This is an actual type of tea that sometimes turns up under such names as wu-long, wulong and wu-yi, to name a few. Whenever these alternate names turn up it should throw up a red flag for consumers. Extravagant weight loss claims are common for oolong, probably more so than any other type of tea. This often results in it being dubbed an “amazing weight loss health tea,” a “slimming tea” and whatnot.
It’s likely that many of these claims are quite creative, to put it kindly, but it should also be noted that they’re not completely without some basis in fact. There are studies that indicate that tea, in general, may aid to some modest degree in weight loss, and there are even a few that specifically look at the role oolong tea might play.
One recent research study specific to oolong tea and weight loss was conducted at the University of California, Davis. Researchers there discovered that rats eating a diet that included oolong tea extract gained less weight than rats not given the extract. A group of Chinese researchers released the results of their study, which claimed that polyphenols in tea – particularly oolong – could be helpful in promoting weight loss.
Prior to that, a study on the effects of oolong tea on Japanese women discovered that it increased energy expenditure at a greater rate than green tea. Researchers attributed this to the polymerized polyphenols in oolong tea. Another study by Japanese researchers concluded, “oolong tea may be an effective crude drug for the treatment of obesity and fatty liver caused by a high-fat diet.” For more info on possible connections between oolong tea and weight loss, check out these articles from the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State.
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