Drinking tea may prevent weight gain caused by a junk food diet.
Researchers found regular consumption of tea also suppressed damaging changes in the blood linked to fatty foods that can lead to type 2 diabetes.
They said the research on mice could signal another set of health benefits from tea drinking if they are confirmed in trials on humans.
In the study some mice were given a high fat diet and others a normal diet. Each of these two groups were then split into smaller groups and given water, black tea or green tea for 14 weeks.
Both types of tea suppressed body weight gain and the
build-up of belly fat linked to a fatty diet.
But black tea, which is used in most ordinary cuppas, also counteracted the harmful effects on the blood normally associated with a high-fat diet.
These included increases in cholesterol, high blood glucose and insulin resistance – a precursor to type 2 diabetes where the body does not efficiently use the insulin it produces. Rising obesity levels in Western countries have resulted in many more people having insulin resistance.
The study at Kobe University, Japan, was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Eight out of ten Britons drink tea. Dr Carrie Ruxton from the industry backed Tea Advisory Panel said: ‘This study is good news for tea drinkers, particularly those who drink black tea.
‘Though the findings need to be confirmed in human studies, this study found that tea helped to prevent weight gain and adverse changes in blood glucose, glucose intolerance, insulin resistance and lipid regulation evoked by a high fat diet.
‘Black tea had particularly favourable effects on blood cholesterol and insulin resistance.’
Tea drinking has already been linked with lowering the risk of heart disease, cancer and Parkinson’s disease. Other research shows drinking tea on a regular basis for ten or more years may improve bone density.
…but there’s no miracle in goji berriesTrendy goji berries are not especially good for you – unless you believe in their healing powers.
The goodness from the berries is mostly the result of a placebo effect, say researchers.
Hailed as a super food, their popularity has soared on the back of claims of anti-ageing and cancer-preventing properties but they have not yet been proven.
The berries do have the same nutrients as other fruits and vegetables, but the difference is the effect on those who truly believe in their wonder properties.
Professor Emilio Martinez de Victoria Muqoz at the University of Granada warned that the berries were simply ‘another fad’, adding: ‘Goji berries will not have any positive effect on people who do not follow a balanced diet’.