Meghan Markle had a lot to learn about tea before she became The Duchess of Sussex. There is strict British etiquette when it comes to preparing and drinking a cup (don’t clink your spoon when stirring in milk!). But one thing she may not have learned in Royals 101 Class is that black tea can assist in slimming bellies and backs.
“Abdominal fat is metabolically active tissue that unleashes harmful inflammatory molecules associated with cardiovascular disease and diabetes,” says Dr. Lisa Davis, chief nutrition officer at Terra’s Kitchen. Internal inflammation is directly linked to insulin resistance and weight gain. But starting the day with black tea can offload the inflammation that leads to abdominal and back fat.
You often hear a lot about green tea being associated with weight loss and black tea as the kind your mom drinks when she has the chills. So what’s the difference? Green tea comes from the same source as black tea – the common type people drink with milk and sugar – but green tea is not as processed as black tea. Less processing means green tea contains more catechins. These are the parts of the tea plant that stimulate your body to release digestive enzymes that get right to work on breaking down food. They also inhibit body fat from accumulating. But research has found that black tea can play a role in weight loss assuming it’s not regularly consumed with scones and heaps of clotted cream.
Black tea has simply had more time to oxidize than green tea. That means it’s been exposed to air which triggers a chemical reaction that turns the tealeaves brownish blackish. You’re definitely familiar with a variety of black teas. For example, Earl Grey, Assam, Darjeeling, Masala Chai and our favorite, English Breakfast (sip with your eyes closed just imagine being in Buckingham Palace).
Consuming high levels of flavonoids, natural antioxidants found in black tea, has been linked to improved health. A study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that people with a higher intake of the type of flavonoids found in black tea had lower BMIs than those with a minimal flavonoid diet. “The tea also contains caffeine that increases fat burn,” says nutritionist Violet Santana of My Wellness Solutions. Another study found that drinking three cups of black tea each day for three months significantly increased weight loss and reduced waist circumference. The positive effects were only seen in people who didn’t use an artificial sweetener.
Let us be clear: guzzling cups of black tea isn’t going to change your belly and back fat situation overnight. But it’s a helpful addition to your overall wellness. Adding a mug to your healthy eating and exercise routine could help you ditch sugary drinks. If you tend to drink high-calorie sodas, sugar-laden sports drinks, and fruit juices, subbing in with black tea is an instant body improvement. Iced tea counts as long as it’s not sweetened. Add a few slices of lemon to the pitcher for a flavor boost.