Drinking tea could help weight management by changing the gut microbiome, according to new research.
Commenting on the new research, women’s health expert, Dr Catherine Hood and a member of the Tea Advisory Panel, notes: “Tea drinking has been associated with weight loss in several studies, a benefit that had been thought to be due mainly to the antioxidant polyphenol content of tea.
“However, findings from new laboratory studies suggest that tea can lead to the proliferation of beneficial bacteria in the gut. An in vitro study has demonstrated that green tea, black tea and oolong tea extracts all increase the growth of beneficial human intestinal bacteria. A further recent laboratory study has also found that oolong tea, rich in catechins, produced a large increase in Bacteroidetes bacteria with a decrease in Firmicutes bacteria.
“These two types of bacteria regulate fat absorption. Researchers have found that Firmicutes are better at extracting energy from food. So, a person with a large ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes in the gut could convert more of the energy in their food to fat, which will be stored in the body.
“Obese people have been shown to have a higher Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio than normal and lean weight people. So, the positive effect of tea on the intestinal bacteria, in particular in increasing the Bacteroidetes/Firmicutes ratio may contribute to weight loss.”
Dr Hood adds: “Overall, this new and emerging evidence suggests that tea and its polyphenol ingredients may have prebiotic activity, changing the ratio of the types of bacteria in the gut which in turn may contribute to weight loss.”