London - Drinking green tea may help you keep slim, say scientists.
An extract from the tea was found to reduce the amount of starch absorbed from food during meals.
It means the drink could be used to help treat people suffering from obesity and diabetes.
Researchers gave 28 participants aged 19 to 28 a bowl of cornflakes to eat, having asked them to fast for the 12 hours before the test.
They then asked them to eat a wafer – some of which contained around four grams of green tea extract, while others contained none. This was equivalent to drinking ‘several cups of green tea’, said researchers.
The scientists then tested participants’ breath for the presence of starch. When starch is broken down during digestion, the amount can be picked up by testing how much carbon dioxide is in the breath.
Led by Jaroslaw Walkowiak of Poznan University in Poland, the researchers found the dose of green tea extract decreased starch digestion and absorption compared to the placebo group.
Writing in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, the study’s authors said: ‘This plant extract is widely available, inexpensive, and well tolerated, so it has potential utility for weight control and the treatment of diabetes.’
Green tea contains a variety of ingredients that may prevent starch from being absorbed – chiefly chemicals called polyphenols. But the drink can vary as to the amount of polyphenols it contains.
The drink has been widely studied for its health effects. In 2012 a review of 18 studies involving 1,945 people found no significant effect of drinking green tea on weight loss. However, other research has found it can reduce cholesterol.
Dietitian Alison Hornby has previously said: ‘In the Far East, green tea has been used as a treatment for a variety of conditions ranging from arthritis to weight loss, as well as a preventative measure for diseases such as cancer, although the evidence for the majority of these conditions is weak or lacking.’Daily Mail