Friday, October 7, 2011. An article recently published online in the journal Obesity reports the finding of a team from Penn State University of a benefit for epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a compound that occurs in green tea, in reducing weight gain in a mouse model of obesity.
For their research, Joshua D. Lambert and his associates utilized a breed of mice susceptible to the development of diet-induced obesity, type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis. The mice were allowed to eat as much as they wanted of a high fat diet, and half were supplemented with EGCG. After six weeks, mice that received EGCG-enhanced diets were found to have gained weight 44 percent less rapidly than those that did not receive the compound. The group that received EGCG also had a 29.4 percent increase in fecal lipids, indicating a reduction in fat absorption. In an in vitro experiment conducted by Dr Lambert's team, epigallocatechin-3-gallate was shown to inhibit the pancreas' production of lipase, an enzyme that breaks down fat, with higher concentrations of EGCG providing a greater effect.
"In this experiment, we see the rate of body weight gain slows down," reported Dr Lambert, who is an assistant professor of food science in agricultural sciences at Penn state. "Our results suggest that if you supplement with EGCG or green tea you gain weight more slowly."
"There seems to be two prongs to this," he observed. "First, EGCG reduces the ability to absorb fat and, second, it enhances the ability to use fat."
"There's no difference in the amount of food the mice are eating," Dr Lambert noted. "The mice are essentially eating a milkshake, except one group is eating a milkshake with green tea."
Although the human equivalent of the amount of EGCG used in this study would be found in ten cups of green tea per day, Dr Lambert remarked that "Human data -- and there's not a lot at this point -- shows that tea drinkers who only consume one or more cups a day will see effects on body weight compared to nonconsumers."
"Most people hit middle age and notice a paunch; then you decide to eat less, exercise and add green tea supplement."