While the benefits of green tea have long been known, new research has shown that black tea may be just as good for you when it comes to weight loss – but in a different way. Scientists have found that black tea can act as a prebiotic, helping your good gut bacteria flourish and moderating your weight.
Both green and black tea contain chemicals called polyphenols. In green tea, the polyphenols are small enough to be absorbed in the small intestine into blood and tissue, acting as a powerful antioxidant.
However in black tea the polyphenols are too large to be absorbed. Instead they act as prebiotic food to good gut bacteria, stimulating growth and the formation of short-chain fatty acids, which increase energy metabolism in the liver, helping you burn more calories.
In the study, groups of mice fed green tea or black tea extracts along with a high-fat, high-sugar diet ended up having the same body mass as mice fed no tea extracts with a low-fat, high-sugar diet, which in rodents at least shows the metabolic power of tea.
It’s interesting to note that only the mice taking the black tea extract had an increase in one specific type of gut bacteria: pseudobutyrivibrio, which belong to a group of bacteria which may protect against colon cancer in humans.
While there still needs to be further research done into the effects on the hugely varied human microbiome, a cup of tea, no matter the colour, won’t go astray when you’re looking to lose weight.