Iced Black Tea, Iced Green Tea, or Iced White Tea – Which Reduces Belly Fat the Most?

Iced Black Tea, Iced Green Tea, or Iced White Tea – Which Reduces Belly Fat the Most?

Sipping a cool glass of iced tea feels so refreshing and hydrating! Wouldn’t it be even better if you knew that doing so might also help your waistline? We wanted to find out if that was the case, so we explored which type of iced tea (black, green or white) has a waist-slimming effect.

True tea is brewed from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant. The names of the tea colors have to do with leaf maturity and extent of oxidation. Oxidation is the process responsible for the browning of black tea leaves, as well as the development of new flavonoids. When the leaves are simply steamed and crushed manually without additional oxidation they retain a green color. White tea is the variant that undergoes the least processing and the leaves are harvested while the tea plant is still young.

BLACK TEA


Here’s how the three types fare in comparison to one another for belly fat reduction:

Black tea* is high in polyphenols called flavonoids. A predominant form of flavonoids are polyphenolic catechins. The process of oxidation browns the leaves and causes reduced catechin content – by around 85% compared to green tea – and less bitterness.1

One study on black tea consumption (3 cups/day) showed positive effects on weight and waist circumference at 3 months, but not at 6 months.2 Animal and small human studies suggest that the caffeine in black tea may increase basal metabolism by up to 6 percent.3 It’s proposed that caffeine encourages the body to breakdown stored fat and stimulate its metabolism. With caffeine, more is not better! Safety guidelines recommend you should only consume up to 400mg of caffeine per day (equal to 5-8 cups of black tea). Also, note that black tea is a rich source of oxalates which can cause kidney stones.

* Chinese black tea (called red tea in China since brewing causes a reddish color) is not the same: The leaves are aged for a very long time giving Chinese black tea a different flavor and flavonoid profile. Oolong tea is made from sun-dried tea leaves that are partially oxidized. Pu’er tea is made from leaves that have been oxidized then microbially fermented.

GREEN TEA


Green tea is characteristically bitter and astringent and has the most catechins compared to black tea. There are eight prominent catechins found in green tea including epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which is believed to be the most pharmacologically active and is the most extensively studied. Green tea catechins (predominantly EGCG) may influence fat distribution by preventing fat cell proliferation, reducing fat absorption, increasing energy expenditure and increasing fat burning.4

It appears that catechins’ ability to impact abdominal fat takes place at a certain threshold. It takes about 500mg catechins (equal to 5 cups of green tea)4,5 to modestly reduce abdominal fat or waist circumference, based on studies using catechin-enhanced beverages.6,7 Again, more is not better… consuming greater than 800mg of EGCG in one sitting would be like slamming a gallon of green tea all at once, and instead of acting as an antioxidant (as it does at lower levels), you’d get pro-oxidant effects!

Aside from sympathetic nervous system action, green tea catechins may also increase satiety. Green tea catechins increase the release of hormones that reduce our appetite and induce a satiating effect, telling our brain that we’ve eaten enough.8 

The caffeine naturally present in green tea may increase energy expenditure on its own but it’s evident that caffeine works synergistically with the catechins. A meta-analysis of research4 and other long-term studies9  indicate that decaffeinated green tea extracts do not have an effect on body weight or abdominal fat.

WHITE TEA 


White tea offers a sweeter and lighter taste than black or green teas although it still contains a variety of compounds including EGCG. One study showed that the range of its total catechin content can overlap the variance found in green tea, making the amount comparable.10 The authors concluded that the source, cultivation, and processing of a given tea may have more influence on catechin content than whether it is green or white.10 Another study demonstrated that the caffeine content between green and white tea is not appreciably different.11

Human studies investigating white tea’s effects on abdominal fat are rare. Results of an in vitro study indicated that white tea extract effectively reduced fat deposition and promoted the breakdown of fat.12 


The winner… ICED GREEN TEA, if you drink enough – 5 cups! For higher effectiveness, consume green tea while fasted – making it your first food of the day to increase absorption of catechins4 – and spread remaining intake throughout the day rather than all at once.

Tips on tea preparation before you ice it:

  • Check bottled tea labels and choose only pure, unadulterated tea—or save money and brew your own at home.
  • For the most catechins, look for quality packaging to ensure better storage with minimal exposure to oxygen, light, and moisture.
  • Use bottled or deionized water to extract (nearly double) more catechins when brewing tea.13 Steeping leaves in tap water, especially ‘hard water’ high in minerals, leads to a less bitter but also less potent tea.15
  • The ideal water temperature and steep time for maximum extraction vary by tea type. For example, brew white tea bags at 98°C [208°F] for 7 minutes to obtain the highest polyphenol content and pleasant taste.14
  • Consider adding lemon or creamer/milk to allow more catechins to be absorbed since they stabilize tea polyphenols in the intestine, inhibiting their degradation from an alkaline pH.15

 


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Intra-workout Drinks and Protein Recommendation | QA

Intra-workout Drinks and Protein Recommendation | QA

Question:

My focus has largely been on muscle growth, though I do plan on switching my routine a bit later in the summer to incorporate more cardio. I would like to be more mindful about the supplements I use and am hoping you can provide advice on this front. I shop at GNC and I normally get a powder for intra-workout drinks and I also get tubs of protein. Do you have products that you would recommend that are both effective and healthy? There are so many different products in the market, as you know, but there really isn’t much oversight of those products when it comes to quality, effectiveness, and, to some degree, legality. I think it would be good for me to hear from an expert on what intra-workout drinks and protein shakes are best rather than relying on blogs, etc.

– Deb S.

Answer:

You’re absolutely right that all consumers have to go on is mostly user reviews and manufacturer advertising – how frustrating! With thousands of products on the market for an industry that draws billions of dollars in sales each year, it’s impossible to even keep up a list of what sport nutrition supplements are available. Turning to the experts is excellent. To be completely unbiased, I don’t endorse a particular brand or products. Rather I look at the individual ingredients for their safety and efficacy.

Protein powders that only contain other macronutrients, amino acids and flavors tend to be safe and effective as solid proteins. They really are a substitute for whole food for convenience, portability and ease of digestion. A reasonable guide is to spend no more than one dollar ($1) per 20-25 gram protein serving; even less if you buy in bulk.

Some active compounds that have scientific evidence behind them are creatine, caffeine, Beta-alanine, nitrate and sodium bicarbonate1.  You can look up ingredients on www.Examine.com but can’t research a certain product by name or brand. The National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements has a helpful table of selected ingredients’ efficacy, safety and dosages that also indicates the type of exercise that they may benefit.

Even when there are studies on effectiveness of an ingredient, the next step is determining whether a particular product has an active amount of that compound. In addition, I look for those that not only say they have 3rd party (“independent laboratory”) testing for potency but offer the report as well. In addition, consumer sites such as Labdoor.com and ConsumerLab.com allow you to search their review/analysis by product name.

Remember, supplements are of best value when they complement a well-chosen high-quality eating plan!

Resources:

  • Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2016;116:501-528.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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Inflammatory Foods on GI Health | QA

Inflammatory Foods on GI Health | QA

Question:

Which foods have the most inflammatory effect on the digestive system?

– Anonymous

Answer:

The upper digestive tract (mouth, throat and stomach) is probably less apt to get irritated from compounds in food since what you’ve eaten isn’t yet broken down there. Hot sauce is an exception! Inflammation in these areas is likely due to bacteria or autoimmune responses. It’s rare that foods cause direct inflammation on the interior lining of the intestinal tract from within the gut itself. Usually it’s by way of immunoregulatory pathways and depends on the health of that lining.

When nutrition and medical experts speak of an inflammatory effect from food, they’re usually talking in reference to the two inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. The causes may be genetic, environmental or both. It’s assumed a pathogenic agent – bacteria, viruses, antigens – triggers the body’s immune system to produce an inflammatory reaction in the digestive system. Certain types of foods may cause greater symptoms, but each person’s response varies.

Outside of IBD, maybe you’re referring to foods that cause other gastrointestinal problems like gas, bloating and pain such as from indigestion, reflux or irritable bowel syndrome? Here the list of problem foods can vary depending on the person’s tolerance. Lactose-containing milk products, nuts, legumes, fructans in grains and vegetables, sugar alcohols, heavy spices, caffeine, and greasy foods are the top contributors to gut issues.

Though you may want to avoid inflammatory foods, I’d suggest focusing on the positive by seeking foods that fight inflammation systemically. These include beneficial spices, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes, nuts, olive oil, fatty fish (such as salmon and mackerel), oysters, wheat germ, liver and citrus fruit.

Resources:

  • Inflammation in the intestinal tract: pathogenesis and treatment. Blumberg RS. Digestive Diseases 2009;  27(4): 455–464. doi:10.1159/000235851
  • “Symptoms & Causes of Gas in the Digestive Tract.” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1 July 2016, www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/gas-digestive-tract/symptoms-causes.
  • Harvard Health Publishing. “Foods That Fight Inflammation.” Harvard Health, Harvard Medical School,    June 2014, www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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 Our Meal Prepping 101 Guide

 Our Meal Prepping 101 Guide

After successfully finishing the work day, picking up the dry cleaning, and picking up the kids from practice, you find yourself like many others–smack in the middle of a lava-flow of traffic desiring for nothing more than to kick-back and relax back in the comfort of your home. After the many stop-and-goes, you glance at what was quite possibly the fourth or fifth billboard showcasing yet another fast-food advertisement. Suddenly, half-way home you realize that you have yet to solve the dreaded-dilemma of figuring out what’s for dinner? In many cases, you are left with the undesirable options of Sunday night leftovers or some mystery frostbitten contents in the freezer from who knows when? On demanding days like these, convenience is often the motivating factor when making a decision on what to eat. But what if I told you these moments could be avoided?

Maintaining healthy habits when it comes to diet for you and your family is similar to creating unhealthy ones. Consider this: in the split moment when you’ve finished work and are scrambling to think of what to make for dinner, most decisions are made from a convenience-driven mentality, even if it results in compromising goals towards a healthier you. This isn’t to say you should completely override eating out. This is simply a gentle reminder that it is often easier to make better decisions for our health when we make efforts to prepare to have better options more accessible and convenient for us.  

It is far more appealing to swing through your local drive-through than it is to think about hovering over a hot stove after a taxing day at work. As convenient as it is to make unhealthy food choices, meal-prepping offers that similar convenience when approached with the same goal in mind.

The goal in this case, is to maintain good eating habits without having to put too much thought behind it, right? What if I told you meal prepping could be more than just steamed veggies and roast chicken piled high in your refrigerator? With a few pointers, meal-prepping could be the easiest decision you could ever make.

Below are some benefits and tips for the beginners out there and a new perspective for others who have the meal-prepping habit already under their belt.

Benefits of eating from home:


 

1. Control what is in your food.

Eating out may be convenient, but it often includes excessive amounts of processed ingredients that include trans fats and higher amounts of sodium and/or processed sugar. Cooking from home allows you to see what and how much you’re putting on your plate.

2. Spend more time with the family.

Meal-prepping doesn’t all have to fall on one person. Getting the kids or your partner involved in washing or cutting produce for your meals can be both interactive and more time-efficient. Including other members in the household for what is on this week’s menu is another great way to get more people involved in the kitchen.

3. Save money.

According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, “as of 2018, the average household spends an average of $ 3,365 per year on dining out alone,” over time what you make up for convenience many households lose in long-term savings.

Execution Time!


 

1. Prep according to your schedule.

Determining how many meals you are going to prepare ahead of time ultimately comes down to the need at hand. I find it best to make this decision after asking myself what part of the day is the most demanding? If mornings are an impossible to time to cook, consider meal prepping with a couple of options you can grab and go before you start your day. If you can anticipate afternoons or evenings being more hectic, then do the same according to what your schedule demands.

2. Commit to prepping one meal a week.

Small steps to healthier living are more sustainable and also less intimidating when first beginning the meal-prepping process. Meal-prepping a whole week’s worth of breakfast, lunch, and dinner plus snacks is a bit of a daunting task for some, and quite honestly, maybe a bit excessive when you are just starting out. Commit to meal-prepping one meal based on your schedule and when you have become more accustomed to this new healthier habit, you can always add on an additional meal or snack to the mix. After a while, you’ll soon be able to conquer multiple meals or days if needed.

3. Purchase seasonally.

It’s completely understandable to have specific preferences in food choices and this might differ depending on what kind of diet you adhere to on a daily basis. Rule of thumb: for more cost-efficient shopping, purchase produce and other items that are within season. Doing so ensures the best quality of ingredients and more reasonable prices than say trying to stock on strawberries in the middle of December.  

Although this is just some basic insight to meal prepping and its advantages, it is a great start towards a healthier more stress-free-you that can be something experienced and beneficial for you and the entire family! The goal couldn’t be more clear – experience living healthy together.


1United States, Congress, He Division of Consumer Expenditure Surveys. “Economic News Release; Bureau of Labor Statistics.” Economic News Release; Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Government Publishing Office, 2018, p. 1.


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Meats, Fruits, and Vegetables to reach 100% Daily Value of Vitamins and Minerals

Meats, Fruits, and Vegetables to reach 100% Daily Value of Vitamins and Minerals

Question:

Which unprocessed meats, vegetables, and fruits should I eat each day to get 100% daily value of vitamins and minerals without supplements?

– Charles E.

Answer:

Great question, Charles! There are over 20 vitamins and minerals which need to be obtained in the diet because the human body cannot make them. The Reference Daily Intake levels – either Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) or Adequate Intake (AI) – for each micronutrient show how much is needed for men, women and children of various age groups. Your question’s wording refers to the Daily Values, which are not so specific.

According to the National Institutes of Health, “one value for each nutrient, known as the Daily Value (DV), is selected for the labels of dietary supplements and foods. A DV is often, but not always, similar to one’s RDA or AI for that nutrient.” The Daily Values are set by the U.S. FDA for labeling so that consumers can see how much of a nutrient is provided in a serving of a food compared to their approximate requirement for it. The Nutrition Facts panel shows the percent DV for certain vitamins and minerals. Readers – if you’re interested in more about food labels, check out our Living Health Podcast Episode 21!

Okay, so on to whether it’s possible to plan a 100% micronutrient complete day from whole foods. Yes! Though the amount of produce may not be realistic for a person to consume on a daily basis, or the energy provided may be inadequate or excessive for you. That’s one reason why a variety of food selected across several days is best for meeting one’s nutritional needs.

If you’re looking for a list of what to eat in one day that meets 100% DV, the best one could do would be to construct a day using nutrient analysis software which would still be compared to the RDA or AI for your age and gender, not DV. The following list shows how you can meet the DV for about half the essential micronutrients:

Vitamin C: 1 large orange

Vitamin D: 3 1/2-ounces salmon

Vitamin E:  1 cup raw broccoli, plus 2 ounces almonds

Vitamin K: raw broccoli from above

Folic Acid: 1 cup peas, 1 cup cooked spinach, and 5 long asparagus

B12 and B6: 1 cup plain yogurt and a banana, 1 ounce sunflower seeds, and 3 ounces roast beef

Calcium: cooked spinach and yogurt from above plus an 8-ounce glass skim milk, and 1 fig

Iron: red meat from above plus a large spinach salad, and 1 cup lentil soup

Magnesium: almonds from above plus 2 slices of whole-wheat bread, 1 ounce raisins, a baked potato, and 4 ounces grilled halibut

Zinc: whole wheat bread from above plus a burger patty, and 1 slice cheese

 

Restricting intake to only the three food groups you mentioned is more work, so you are on your own there. If you are adamant about doing so, I’d suggest using a sample menu as a template for starters then substituting for foods you won’t eat. Truly a personalized custom menu!

 

References:

  • “Daily Values.” NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ods.od.nih.gov/HealthInformation/dailyvalues.aspx.
  • Harvard Health Publishing. “Getting Your Vitamins and Minerals through Diet.” Harvard Health, Harvard Medical School, July 2009, www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/getting-your-vitamins-and-minerals-through-diet.
  • “How to Eat Your Vitamins.” Real Simple, www.realsimple.com/health/nutrition-diet/vitamins/eat-vitamins.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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