Green tea has long been the darling of the food scientific set—studies have shown that the tasty beverage may fight cancer, boost brain power, weight loss, and lower risk of stroke, among many other benefits. But now black tea—which is made from the same plant, except it sits longer and gets oxidized before drying—is stealing back a bit of the spotlight, according to a new study from UCLA.
For the research, scientists gave different diets to four groups of mice. One got low-fat, high-sugar; another high-fat, high-sugar; the third high-fat, high-sugar, and green tea extract; and the last one high-fat, high-sugar, and black tea extract. Once the four-week study period was over, they discovered that the weight of the mice on the fattening diets with tea extract dropped back down to the same levels of the mice on the low-fat diets. Also, the guts of the mice who had the tea extracts had higher levels of the bacteria matched with lean body mass, and fewer bacteria linked to obesity.
“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 study lead Susanne Henning, Ph.D., an adjunct professor at the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. “The results suggest that both green and black teas are prebiotics, substances that induce the growth of good micro-organisms that contribute to a person’s well-being.”
Just remember: Try not to dump a ton of sugar and heavy cream in your tea—all those extra calories can put a dent in those weight-loss effects.