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  • Oolong tea reduces weight gain in mice by increasing fat burning and reducing fat absorption

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    Thursday, July 08, 2010 7:18 am Email this article
    Oolong tea may help to prevent weight gain by increasing the amount of fat that is burned and, surprisingly, by reducing fat absorption in manner similar to the fat-blocking drug Xenical (orlistat) and Alli (orlistat sold over-the-counter) according to mouse study from Japan.

    Young mice that were fed an un-restricted high-fat diet plus five percent oolong tea powder gained only 16 percent more weight than mice fed a diet of low-fat lab chow, compared to a 48 percent greater weight gain in mice put on a high-fat diet without the tea.

    Weight gain over a ten-week study was 12.5 grams in lab chow group versus 14.5 grams in the high-fat-plus-oolong-tea group versus 18.5 grams in the high-fat group.

    Oolong tea was found to increase the release of fat from fat cells and reduce the absorption of dietary fat in a manner similar to Xenical—by inhibiting pancreatic lipase in dose-dependent fashion.

    Pancreatic lipase is the key enzyme required for the absorption of dietary fats.

    The increase in fat release from fat cells was determined to be the result of the caffeine in the tea. However, the pancreatic lipase-inhibiting substance has not been identified.

    It was determined that the pancreatic lipase-inhibiting substance was not caffeine, nor was it any of the tea tannins such as epicatechin, epigallocatechin, epicatechin gallate and epigallocatechin gallate.

    No liver damage.

    There was no evidence of liver damage in the mice treated with oolong tea in that there was no elevation of liver enzymes.


    The high-fat diet consisted of 40 percent fat (beef tallow), 36 percent protein (casein), 10 percent starch (corn starch) and 9 percent sugar. The control diet was laboratory chow contained 4 percent fat, 24 percent protein and 60 percent carbohydrates.

    Calorie intake.

    Mice on the high-fat diet, either with or without the added tea, ate 50-60 percent more calories than mice on the lab chow diet. (162 calories per week on high-fat diet-plus-tea versus 148 calories on high-fat diet versus 99 calories on the lab chow diet.)


    The oolong tea was identified as Thea sinensis L.


    Han LK, Takaku T, Li J, Kimura Y, Okuda H. Anti-obesity action of oolong tea. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, 1999 Jan, 23(1):98-105.

    Taylor N. Green Tea. Kensington Books. New York, 1998.

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