While green tea tends to steal the spotlight, a study out of the University of California sheds a new light on the many benefits of black tea. Published in the European Journal of Nutrition, the study authors found that the polyphenols in black tea alter the gut microbiome in a way that "boosts weight loss" for mice being fed a high-fat, high-sucrose diet designed to cause obesity, reports Medical News Today.
In other words, black tea could boost your metabolism in the same way that green tea does—but through your gut bacteria rather than your bloodstream. "Our new findings suggest that black tea, through a specific mechanism through the gut microbiome, may also contribute to good health and weight loss in humans," said lead study author Susanne Henning from UCLA.
To arrive at this conclusion, the researchers fed four separate groups different respective diets: a high-fat, high-sugar diet; a high-fat, high-sugar diet supplemented with green tea extract; a high-fat, high-sugar diet supplemented with black tea extract; and a low-fat, high-sugar diet. After four weeks, they ultimately found that both the green tea and black tea extracts helped the mice lose weight and promoted the growth of "good" gut bacteria related to lean body mass.
The difference between the two teas comes down to how the body absorbs the antioxidants. While green tea polyphenols are small enough to be absorbed into the bloodstream and liver, black tea polyphenols are bigger and remain in the intestine, where they "boost the growth of 'friendly' gut bacteria … that help to control liver energy metabolism."
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