Can tea drinking reduce body weight?
There have been various researches conducted in recent years regarding the association between tea drinking and weight loss and the results are promising and consistent: all teas (beverages made of Camellia sinensis) are effective in assisting in weight loss.
The reason behind tea and weight loss is that tea increases body metabolism rate, thus energy expenditure. In addition to many other health benefits of tea drinking, mainly due to their high anti-oxidant content, assisting in weight loss is the driving force for many taking up tea drinking as a new lifestyle fashion. Tea however is not a cure nor a magic. It need to be combined with other lifestyle changes, such as healthy diet and being active to product long term sustainable and desirable results.
A few facts and tips for using tea to help with weight loss:
- The difference in weight loss effects of different teas is minimum (more overlap than differences), should it be green tea, white tea, Oolong tea, black tea or pu-erh tea.
- Take a long term approach for a desirable result. My advice to tea drinkers is always to pick a tea you really enjoy drinking and make it part of your lifestyle. The weight reduction and many other health benefits will come naturally as the by-products.
- There are some herbal remedies which include conventional teas, such as our lotus leaf slimming tea which include 15% Oolong tea plus 5 other herbal ingredients recorded in Chinese medicine with weight reducing effects, are more potent than using one single tea (for example Oolong tea) alone.
- For coffee and fizzy drink consumers, it is a good idea tying to replace some part of your daily intake by tea and gradually increase the tea proportion.
- Tea preparation is important when it comes to premium teas: you cannot improve poor quality teas, but can reduce the premium teas to a lower grade if not prepared probably. Tea preparation does NOT have to be complicated. Lean some basics and the rest is more personal preference than skills.
- There are also tea accessories to facilitate loose tea (better quality generally speaking) drinking in the office, such as the tea infuser-all-in one: http://www.valleygreentea.com.au/tea-infuser/view-all-products.html
Remember there is NO magic bullet for weight loss, but shedding a few kilos is absolutely achievable and sustainable. Taking small but consist and solid steps, as the Chinese ancient wisdom says ‘a river is made of individual small drops of water’!
We all know that to be able to achieve something, we needs to set goals. When it comes to trying to lose a few kilos, simply saying I would like to be 5 kilos lighter is not good enough.
I would recommend the first step being to set some goals of behaviour change that are achievable and sustainable, small ones that are not overly ambitious.
Weight gain and weight loss is a simple balance sum. If you lose 10g a day (achieve by anyone’s definition), you will lose 1kg in 100 days, the same with weight gain.
The three main areas a weight loss can be achieved without involving medical procedures:
Some ‘not so hard’ behaviour change examples:
- Diet: Instead of eating dessert every day after dinner, reduce it to once every second day; instead of buy high energy take away lunch, pack yourself a salad/tuna lunch every second day, combined with a small treat to reward yourself.
- Exercise: Instead of being driven to the station to go to work, walk or park the car further away from the station; if at home, walk to the local shops or post office instead of driving. (I personal love bikes, time saving and exercise at the same time.)
- Supplements: natural supplements PROVEN to be effective are highly recommended. Because I am a tea lover, tea drinking to me is a must try. (We will publish a separate blog shortly on how to use different teas to assist in weight loss.)
It is obvious that all above changes are highly individual. The main target should be taking small, but achievable steps and follow them through. These steps hopefully will become habit changes of your lifestyle and here to stay. A negative weight balance not matter how small will eventually take you to your ultimate goal of weight loss.
To be avoided:
vigorous work outs that produce hunger and bigger appetite. The worst possible outcome of this is to lose your muscle mass and replace it by fat once this unsustainable regime has stopped.
A repeatedly inflated and deflated balloon is not anyone’s desire.
I am writing up this blog know the full potential of being criticized as being condescending and judgemental, but will take the risk and call it what it is.
I believe our ancestors from the hunting and gathering days ate to acquire the essential nutrients needed by their bodies. There were days of plenty and days of shortage, but somehow it managed to even out and the human society has surveyed and progressed.
What I was seeing the other day in a supermarket was however quite a different story. I was shopping for family dinner and there was a lady in front of me at the checkout. I am afraid to say she was already twice the size of me. I was rather stunned when I noticed what was in her shopping trolley: a hot chicken, 6 blocks of Canterbury chocolate (quite a substantial stack!), 2 packs of Tim Tam, 3 packs of chocolate waffle. The only item which could be classified as ‘vegetable’ was a bottled pasta source. I could not help it to think from a biochemical point of view that her arteries are already quite clogged up, and her lifestyle habit keeps adding to it.
This is when eating starts harming a body. There will also be a vicious circle after this, the more obese one becomes-> the more burdened his/her heart is -> the less active he/she will be -> more obese he/she will become.
Valley Green Tea will attempt to offer some practical advice on how to break this vicious circle to step into a productive one in a few future blog posts.
For those who are new to green teas, buying the right one could be a bit of a challenge. The questions that I have been asked:
- Can I order some green tea please (reality: there are more than 300 Chinese green teas with very distinctive individual characters.)
- What is the best green tea?
- Which green tea has the highest level of anti-oxidants?
- Are all green teas bitter and grassy?
- Are all loose leaf tea green tea?
- Any the list keeps growing!
Green tea and its health benefit
Green tea is one of the very original teas and has been consumed in China for a long history. It is however relatively new to the west. The interest in green tea has been rapidly increasing in the last 20-30 years mainly due to the recent documentary of their numerous health benefits.
The health benefits of different green teas are similar, although the anti-oxidant level is believed to be associated with the quality grade of the tea more than the variety (different varieties of green teas are made of different sub-species of the same plant).
I have been advising our customers as follow:
- Never forget that green tea was discovered as an enjoyable beverage to enhance lifestyle first
- The health benefits are by-products
- If you can find a green tea that suites your taste and in-cooperate it into your lifestyle, the health benefits will come naturally.
Purchase green tea online
Tea drinking is a life time journey for many and it is worth while taking time to investigate and find a tea and a supplier that meets you needs and satisfy your taste buds.
They are many online suppliers offering loose leaf green teas today, claiming to be premium quality. The quality range is however very big. There are supplier source their seasonal products directly from the tea farmers in China, transport and store appropriately while the others (with limited knowledge about premium fresh teas) simply purchase their products from a second or even third hand tea merchant. For the later, the product could be of low quality at production, being stored inadequately for a long time and sold under the same tea name for a profit, for example all under the same name Dragon Well green tea. The differences are evident to an experienced tea drinker.
Green tea buying tips:
- The best green teas are the fresh ones (refreshing and aromatic, never bitter or rough)
- All loose teas are quality graded and the difference could be quite big (similar to premium wine)
- Do a thorough check of the site, if the supplier appears to have extensive firsthand knowledge about teas, the chances are you are likely to get some decent quality products.
- Start from small amount but different varieties. Pick the one that satisfy your taste buds, you can then order bigger quality.
- Try out some free samples if possible.
- Tea bags are never of high quality, mainly because the broken leaves are heavily oxidised (different from fermentation!) at the edge to produce the bitter taste and rough texture
More information about green teas and their quality grades at: Tea and Quality.
When we talk about tea accessories, some inexperienced tea drinkers immediately think about exotic Chinese/Japanese tea ceremonies and the tea accessories used.
They are some extreme tea accessories of course, often for collection purpose that fall into this category. There also others designed for practicalities, specific accessories for specific teas with very valid reasons. For example:
- We (Chinese) always use small teapots as these ensure the teas are freshly brewed and severed. A big teapot on the other hand has a tendency to soak the teas.
- A glass teapot is recommended for green teas as the young tender leaves create an underwater phenomena during the brewing. It is a visual enjoyment as well as a good opportunity to inspect the quality of the leaves.
- A Zi Sha teapot (purple sand teapot) if often used for teas that require a ‘good brew’, such as Oolong tea, black tea and pu-erh tea. The micro-cavities in this unique clay allows teas to breathe through the teapot wall during the brewing process. It has thus gained it reputation to be the premium clay for premium teas in China for almost as long as the history the teas.
- We also use small tea cups that are in glass or with white inner lining for drinking. This is for the convenience of inspect the tea brew. A premium tea’s brew should be brightly clear, in whatever colour the tea is supposed to be in.
- The tea infuser all-in-one is designed to be used in the office (you therefore would not need a tea set in a limited space) or those drinking alone at home that need frequent topping up.
As you can see from the above examples, tea accessories have their very own practical purposes and functions. By selecting the right tea accessories, your tea consuming experience will be largely enhanced. To get the perfect tea accessories for your perfect tea however sometimes can take some time. It is just like teas, everyone has a different taste and preference, but once you have found your perfect spot, it will stay with you for a long time.
Making a cup of tea from loose leaves in an office sometimes however can be less feasible, you need at least a teapot and a cup.
As much as the Chinese love their premium loose teas, at home or at the office, a tea infuser all-in-one is invented to overcome this obstacle. These tea infusers are composed by two compartments:
- The upper/inner chamber where the tea is brewed. It is equipped by a valve which allows a perfect control of the tea brewing time with a touch of a button.
- The lower compartment where the tea brew is drained to can be used a serving teapot or a tea cup to drink from.
- The lid is also a perfect saucer, for the brewing compartment to sit on when the lower compartment is being used as a teapot or cup.
Your have questions, there are answers. Just as the Chinese say ‘it is better to be deprived of food for a day than tea’.
Weight management is a question, desire, dream, challenge, quest, game, journey, investment, and disappointment for so many in our date’s society. For some commercial companies, this desperate yearning of being fit and healthy also becomes a profit making vehicle that only leads to an end that see either no result or unsustainable results. An article published today with a title ‘Why diets don’t work – three things you need to know (Sydney Morning Herald: http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet-and-fitness/why-diets-don8217t-work-8211-three-things-you-need-to-know-20140820-1069er.html )’ with an analysis of interaction between one’s mind and body, and how a desire is not necessarily leading to a desirable result, is a restatement of our previous blog ‘Weight management 1 – why we put it on? ’, with some further recommendation on how to achieve a successful result without breaking your back and pockets. This lead to what we have always also been advocating – making SUSTAINABLE lifestyle changes, should it be diet, exercise and supplements. It is an absolute heartache to see desperate people being led to false promises and the only lesson learnt is not to try again.
Many are drinking green tea these days due to their overwhelming health benefits researched and reported. Many however turn up at the local supermarket and grab a box of teabags. The scenario is often they find them difficult to swallow let alone enjoy and can only put up with them for so long. A few hints to help you to find your cup of green tea:
- Unlikely commercial tea bags, there are many varieties of premium loose leaf pure green teas (unblended). There are more than 300 alone in China recorded, many times more folk teas have never made it to the record. The teas are made in different areas, using different sub-species of plants grown under different climate conditions and processed by different traditional methods. The end results are teas looking different and tastes different. Try a variety of them and the chances are there will be one that is your favourite.
- Purchase the right teas from the right supplier. Premium pure tea is an art of its’ own and a supplier who understands premium teas will certainly help in the teas they source. If you are not sure, ask for samples and a genuine supplier will be more than proud to show off their teas.
- Lean to make premium green teas the right way. The traditional English tea making with a big teapot and soak the tea for a long time will ruin the green tea no matter how good quality it is. On the other hand however, you do not need a tea ceremony to make a cup of green tea. Just a few cautions, such as tea leaf amount, water temperature and brewing time, and after that it is all in your hands. Experiment until you get your perfect cup of tea.
- Select the right tea vessel. Teas are very delicate in flavours and will take any odors and flavours around them. Avoid anything that is modern, such plastic, iron or aluminum to store or brew teas where possible. A cupper with the plastic taste is not a flavour for anyone for sure.
Green teas are extremely refreshing. A good quality one will make you wanting to come back for more and more, especially after a rich meal. I remember my village born and died (when she was nearly 100 years old) grandmother could not live a day without her tea. Green tea could be a lifestyle change with plenty of the enjoyment, so do not drink to put up with it! We Chinese have enjoyed for about 2000 years.
Weight management is an industry itself. As someone mentioned to me earlier, ‘as soon as you mention a weight loss product, the women (she surprisingly did not know that the long term consumers of our Natural Shape – Lotus Leaf Herbal Slimming Tea are just as many men are women) will have their hands in their purses immediately’.
Obesity is life style issue and is an inevitable by-product of our modern society, long working hours, high level of stress, lack of time for home cooking and excessive consumption of sugar rich beverages just to name a few. People look for solution naturally: some pay (pills, surgeries, pre-prepared frozen foods), some work hard (parks are full of working out people before and after business hours) and some simply give up (after failed attempts or unsustainable results). It is so easy said than done to just say ‘change your life style’. When you have bills to pay, you work. When you work, you do not have time to shop, cook, exercise, relax and when you are stressed, you reach out for comfort food. It is not my intention to offer advice here to quit work and live as a saint. There are however small steps to be taken as part of one’s comprehensive approach to combat this threat that has gone far beyond than just an image issue – it is turning into one of the biggest killers of our contemporary era.
The herbal slimming tea we offer is made of six traditional Chinese herbs all with slimming functions, but affecting human metabolism from various angles. The herbs have been proven by Chinese medicine to have not only slimming effects, but many other health benefits: for examples, reducing blood cholesterol level and thus preventing high blood pressure, enhancing body immune system, cancer preventive, anti-inflammatory and adoptogenic etc. See Lotus Leaf Slimming Tea for more information. When you are at work and stressed, instead of reaching out for a coffee or biscuits, make yourself a cup of warm herbal tea and drink as many to your heart’s content. We recommend to drink 3-5 tea bags a day to lose weight. Many of our customers drink less than that on a regular base for their health benefits. You may think to lose weight and stay healthy is too good to be true, yet this is what we (Chinese) have been doing for a long time. We believe both health and diseases come from what you put in your mouth and the theory has stood the test of time.
There has been a recent surge of Pu-erh tea prices in China, 36%-150% over the last 12 months. Valley Green Tea offers some insight as to why?
There has been a recent surge of Pu-erh tea prices in China, 36%-150% over the last 12 months. Pu-erh tea is a tea class of its own, similar to premium wine in many aspects, it value increases with age. Its unique post –fermentation nature enhances its aroma and texture with time. The market value of aged Pu-erh tea generally increase by 10%-20% every year depending on the tea variety and original quality.
The following reasons are believed to have contributed to the recent surge of Pu-erh tea market prices:
- The inflation in China is high, especially in foods.
- The basic labour cost in the Yun-Nan Province has gone up significantly – reported to have doubled since last year. Tea making is a labour intensive process, from leaves picking to the final processing.
- Due to the radiation concerns about Japanese tea products after last year tsunami, many tea retailers have switched to products such as Pu-erh tea. Most of Pu-erh teas are high altitude forest wild gown with low risk of industrial pollution.
- Financial value: some investors use Pu-erh collection as investments. Many have tried share market and property investments during the last a couple decades. Property market in China now is considered to be overvalued and share market has been unstable. Pu-erh tea value increase is considered to be relatively steady.
- Personal value: Pu-erh tea is also believed to have many potent health benefits including reducing cholesterol and weight, and assist digestion.
- Pu-erh tea is still considered to be relatively cheap compared to other premium Chinse teas. There is therefore a bit of catching up happening.
In summary, the current demand of Pu-erh tea is high and the tea prices in China are largely driven by the balance of demand and supply. Similar to share market, we cannot predict at this point where the direction the Pu-erh tea price is pointing at. It is however the tea producer’s believe that it is unlikely to go down.
Pure tea vs blended tea, reasons to blend or not to blend
With teas becoming more popular each day, vastly due to the negative health effects of sugar rich beverage consumption and health benefits of tea drinking, teashops are sprouting up daily. The new shops and exiting suppliers are also scrambling to invent ‘exotic new teas’ to attract customers. Blending (or mixing) teas is a quick and easy fix, blending conventional teas with blossoms, fruits or spices. The question is if it is the right thing to do? Teas are ancient products, invented by the Chinese more than 2000 years ago and categorised into six main categories based on their processing methods. There are many teas within each category, each developed over a long period of time with their unique appearance, taste, production and culture of consumption. Attempts to ‘modernise’ this product is like trying to modify and polish antique objects. Premium teas, should it be green tea, white tea, Oolong tea or black tea, are rich in their own distinctive aromas, flavours and aftertastes. They are there to be enjoyed, but not covered up. The low quality ones however are different. They are often stile and heavily oxidised (please see the note below), resulting in the teas being bitter with rough texture. These teas are often used in blends for the purpose of ‘face lifting’ in the teas’ native country China where appreciation of quality teas is highly developed.
Many confuse oxidisation with fermentation – they are very different mechanisms. Black teas are fully fermented, but not necessarily oxidised. Read more about tea quality at: Tea Quality
green tea, a source of enjoyment
Green tea is a hot keyword these days. Many however understand it through the images and articles portraying it as a pale green colour liquid medicine – with a long list of health benefits. Green tea was discovered accidentally and had been consumed in China for 2000 plus years before we started studying its health benefits. Our ancestors drank it because they enjoyed it. Over the long history of green tea consumption in China, more than 300 varieties have been invented and it has become a product of history, culture and art. Green teas are made of the leaves of a simple plant called Camellia sinensis. The hundreds of varieties, each with its unique natures to mark their own identity are a result of their different: plant species, cultivation environment, harvesting skills and making skills. The final product is a unique leaf beverage with nothing but individualities. There is a culture build around each green tea production and consumption, the final brew looks similar in bright light green, but their aroma, taste, texture and after taste can only be experienced and described individually. The most amazing bit is that all these come from a simple plant leaf – no additives are required. In fact the additives are only used when covering up is needed for the low quality products. (Very similar premium wines.) To fully benefit from green teas’ rich anti-oxidants, the first step is to lean to enjoy the tea itself.
Let's talk on the same terms: green tea, white tea or Oolong tea
Teas are categorised into 6 classes according to the degree of fermentation during their processing: green teas are unfermented; white teas are lightly fermented by hardly processed (rubbed, rolled or baked); yellow teas are partially fermented, but being put through a unique process called ‘Men Huang’ to produce the unique yellow appearance and yellow tea taste; Oolong teas are semi-fermented and black teas are fully fermented. There is also a sixth category called compressed tea (Pu-erh tea) that the teas continue to ferment after being produced. The confusion starts when a tea brew without added milk is called black by certain western cultures. With the increasing popularity of green tea in recent years largely due to their numerous health benefits, it adds another dimension to the confusion – many call any leaf tea green including herbal teas (teas made of all other plants and parts apart from Camellia sinensis leaves). The classification becomes more intangible when white tea is mentioned: it is a black tea with added milk by western culture and the real white tea is a unique class of teas that are lightly fermented by least processed, nothing to do with if milk is added or not. The discussions about teas, especially their health benefits are intense these days. Let’s start from getting the terms right so that at least we know we are talking about the same things.
Some products need to be updated periodically and the others the originals are still the best. What is happening to tea after being consumed by human kind for more than 2000 years?
Tea was invented more than 2000 years ago and has stood the test of time for more reasons than one. It has also produced many ‘offspring’, mostly under the umbrella of ‘blends’ or ‘chai’ created through simple mixing but which makes them appear to be exotic and exciting. Caught in the middle is tea itself; it came from ancient times and seems to want to be left just the way it always was: it loves natural spring water, an open fire and unglazed clay tea ware. The modern synthetic products take the real glory out of it. To the younger generation of tea drinkers however, the good old cup of tea somehow belongs to their grandparents’ era. It is simply not flashy enough for their modern life styles. Yet, they are attracted to tea because of the continuing publicity in the media portraying tea as a healthy, carb free beverage which offers many health benefits.
The market somehow has managed to create various ‘creative versions’ in a short time to meet demands and these are called blends. A fancy label is usually attached under the brand of the company. Mankind consumes tea for several reasons: to relieve thirst, for taste enjoyment and more recently because it has been advocated as a beverage that offers many health benefits. There are no apparent reasons for the new ‘blends’ to offer anything additional apart from in the area of ‘taste’. As democratic as we are, we do believe that ‘everyone has a different taste’. It is only fair to allow the space for creativity and experimentation.
My personal experience so far however has led me to believe that the original is still the best. Tea is similar to wine to a large extent, the art of growing and processing is highly specialised and there is a strong culture associated with its consumption. In China, there are sub-cultures associated with individual teas, in relation to their production and consumption. For example in the green tea family alone, there are more than 300 Chinese green teas. They are produced in different areas, using different species of tea plants, cultivated under different climate and soil conditions and produced for a harmonic match with the local diet. There is one thing that the Chinese do NOT do, however, which is to blend/mix the premium teas. These teas are naturally balanced in their aroma, flavour and texture and are there to be enjoyed but not covered or converted.A good cup of tea is described as dew from heaven. Teas of low quality are handled differently; they are often turned into teabags and used in blends. Generally speaking, the low quality teas are bitter with a rough texture, they need a ‘face lift’.
Finally, traditional teas do not necessarily stay as fossils forever. They are often regenerated and fine-tuned by the specialist tea masters for further developments. This art requires special knowledge and experience in the area of tea processing. For example, a Chinese premium black called JinJunMei has recently been developed on the back of the traditional black tea Lapsang souchong. Its unique high class quality has been acknowledged and accepted by the tea drinking community almost immediately and it has very quickly made it to the top selling tea list in China.
Oolong tea is a class of Chinese teas that are semi-fermented. Oolongl, Wulong and Wulong are translations of different Fu Jian dialects referring to 'dark red dragon' in Chinese, which is what this category of teas
Online business is booming. Valley Green Tea offers hints on how to make intelligent choice when purchasing premium teas online
Interest in premium teas
Interest in premium teas is growing rapidly mainly due to their numerous health benefits discovered during recent years. Many tea consumers are becoming aware that teabags are at the low end of the quality spectrum, while the premium quality teas are simply not to be found on the supermarket shelves. So where to go to find and purchase quality teas? Online of course, with a few deft clicks. Discerning whether a tea is of premium quality however can be quite a challenge for many. Purchasing online sometimes could be even more a gamble. A few tips to assist tea consumers when considering this shopping option:
Advantages of purchasing online:
- It is a source of concentrated and relevant information: Most sites will only display information relevant to the products they supply, but a good website should be a comprehensive source for gathering information about the different tea varieties, their health benefits and instructions for preparation.
- You are more likely to obtain fresh teas: Freshness is crucial when it comes to tea quality (except aged teas such as Pu-erh tea). For example, Valley Green Tea source new season fresh teas directly from the tea farmers in China. Certain teas are imported to Australia by Air freight and stored under refrigeration when required. The tea orders are then sent directly to the tea drinkers. With the absence of lengthy shelf exposure, storage at sub-optimal temperatures and other tea damaging factors, the likelihood of tea remaining fresh and of premium quality is significantly increased.
Pitfalls of purchasing premium teas
There is however a pitfall. Unlike commercial teabags, there is a wide range of quality for each type of loose leaf tea (please visit our Tea Quality page for further info: http://www.valleygreentea.com.au/chinese-tea-quality ). It therefore offers an opportunity for the more unscrupulous tea merchants to supply low quality teas to fetch a bigger profit margin.
Precautions when purchasing premium teas online
A few precautions you can take in order to help you to avoid potential disappointments are:
- Request tea samples before purchase, if possible.
- Find a reputable supplier and stay with it. Like all other businesses, good tea suppliers invest in building their credentials around the quality of their products and services. Recommendation by someone you know is invaluable, otherwise voluntary online reviews posted by genuine tea consumers also provide excellent indications.
- If anything appears to be too good to be true, the chances are that it is not true; (unless the arguments are backed by solid evidence such as original research reports). There have been many false claims and testimonials posted on certain websites during recent years, especially in relation to certain weight loss teas. Terms such as ‘super fat burner’ and ‘secret slimming tea’ have been used to lure those vulnerable people looking for fast track weight loss. Dealing with these websites can lead to far more than just a disappointing experience.
- Use a local supplier if possible. When there is a dispute either about the product or the service, dealing with an overseas company becomes almost impossible.
For those who have only used teabags before, premium loose tea is a completely different experience altogether.