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Jan 15

January 15, 2014

green tea plant

Drinking Green Tea or White Tea and Weight Loss

Drinking tea can lead to weight loss. You’ve heard this before, I’m sure. In fact, if you search for those very words, you will get back thousands of results with articles about the weight loss benefits of tea, green tea and white tea especially. Many of those articles are trying to sell you something and that is why they are so excited about explaining how tea can help you lose weight. Sadly, the truth is that drinking tea does not directly lead to weight loss.

green tea plant

That is not to say that tea is not healthy and that it does not help you lose weight. It just doesn’t do so directly. What this means is that starting to drink tea one day will not result in the pounds melting off the next. In fact, if the only change you make in your life is drinking tea and everything else stays the same, you will not lose a single pound.

How can people say that drinking green tea or white tea leads to weight loss then?

Well, first of all, when people begin drinking tea, they drink less of something else. We only need so much liquid per day, so every cup of tea replaces a cup of some other liquid and usually that other liquid is much less healthy than tea.

The type of people who are trying to lose weight generally drink a lot of unhealthy drinks, like sodas and other drinks with a ton of sugar. Coffee counts among them, if tons of sugar or other sweeteners are added.

When they start drinking tea, they will drink fewer of these unhealthy drinks and that will help them lose weight. The weight loss does not result directly from the tea intake, but from what was given up for that tea.

Beyond that, drinking tea functions as a type of signal. By this I mean it is a signal to yourself, to your mind, that you will now begin to live healthier. It is an easy first step on the road to a healthier lifestyle. In order to actually lose weight, you will need to change your diet and it would not hurt to exercise as well. The steps are fairly hard, but just adding tea to your daily routine is relatively simple. Because of this, many people begin with the tea and then take on incrementally more difficult tasks that can result in weight loss. In this way, a daily tea habit is a great beginning to a healthier lifestyle.

For this article I have mentioned green tea and white tea, but any other tea made from the actual tea plant is just as healthy. Herbal teas do not enter into the equation here. They come from different plants and as such have very different properties from real tea. Some of them are very healthy and some of them don’t do much at all. They are beyond the scope of this article and you’ll have to look elsewhere to find out about herbal teas.

As far as actual teas go, we have the two I have already mentioned plus oolong tea, black tea, yellow tea and pu erh tea. You will find a ton of articles on each of these, many of them claiming that whatever tea they are talking about is the healthiest and that you should buy their pills or supplements or whatever, but the truth is the health benefits of every one of these teas is about the same. The type of tea does not have as much effect on this as other factors, like the type of plant the tea leaves cam from or the location where the plant was grown or the manner in which it was processed.

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Jan 14

January 14, 2014

matcha green tea with dessert

Which Tea is the Healthiest?

You’ll hear a lot of different answers to this question and they’re mostly all right and all wrong. Others make it simple: the healthiest tea is matcha. This is a high quality powdered green tea from Japan. It is made by grinding the tea leaves from the highest-quality teas into a fine powder. Because of this the whole leaves are consumed, not just the brewed essence, which means the health benefits are multiplied by a factor of at least 10. For more on matcha green tea powder, go here.

matcha green tea with dessert

A cup of Matcha green tea with a sweet called mochi

Apart from matcha, it gets a little bit complicated. Mostly you’ll hear that white tea is the next healthiest, but that isn’t really true. It often gets credit for having less caffeine and more nutrients, but none of those things really depend on the type of the tea. They depend on the tea plant itself and the area and manner in which it is grown. This means that a white tea from a less healthy plant is less healthy than a white tea from a healthier plant. Similarly the less healthy white tea is less healthy than a black tea from a healthier plant. Does that make sense? If not, check out this page on white tea.

Because of this, I wouldn’t worry too much about what type of tea you’re drinking. It’s hard to know what kind of plant it came from and where it came from and how it was grown. You’re best off just drinking whatever you prefer and whatever one tastes best to you, as the differences in the health benefits are not generally all that great anyway.

The one thing you might want to look out for are human pollutants. By that I mean chemicals, pesticides, etc. You want to be especially wary of these in teas from China and even more in teas from India. Regulation is somewhat lax in these countries and enforcement is virtually nonexistent due to ridiculous levels of corruption. It’s hard to know exactly what you’re getting when you buy an Indian or a Chinese tea. That said, you could say the same thing for any food we buy. Personally, I tend not to even worry about it, since there is nothing I can do. If I like the taste of the tea, I’ll drink it.

So what was my conclusion exactly? Well, I guess I didn’t really have one. Basically, if you’re drinking tea especially for the health benefits, you’ll want to go with matcha. The main problem with this green tea powder is that it is very difficult to brew. Luckily, you don’t have to brew it. As a powder it can easily be added to all kinds of foods and there are hundreds of recipes to be found online. After that, I’d go for whatever you like. Personally, I enjoy green teas like sencha from Japan or, if you prefer milder tea, a Dragon well from China. White teas are also incredibly delicious. Here I’d recommend the highest-quality white hair silver needle, or the second highest-quality white peony. Whatever you choose, make sure to follow the brewing instructions carefully, so that you get a cup you’ll actually enjoy. Here’s to your new healthy lifestyle.

For more on white tea, try the white tea guide from Wikipedia.

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