Friday, January 25, 2013
There is recent evidence that a chemical found in ordinary green tea, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), may offer a bit of weight loss magic.
Unlike black teas, which are made with fermented leaves, green tea (camellia sinensis) is produced by steaming fresh leaves. This production process results in higher content of polyphenols like EGCG, which is a flavonol. Black tea has 3 to 10 percent polyphenols, while green tea has 30 to 40 percent.
Because of its high polyphenols, green tea is ascribed all kinds of health benefits, from normalizing blood pressure to lowering cancer risk. Future research will likely clarify whether or not any of the phenols have disease-fighting effects.
The proposed mechanism for green tea’s calorie-burning properties lies in the ability of EGCG to increase thermogenesis, or heat production, by influencing enzymes in the metabolic process. This means that EGCG seems to increase the amount of calories burned throughout the day for all activities, from digesting food to climbing stairs to typing.
Other food components, like caffeine or capsaicin (in hot peppers) can boost calorie burning, but EGCG has a stronger effect. However, the effect is not likely to melt pounds off overnight.
A variety of studies on the effect of EGCG on weight and metabolism have been published. Most of them have encouraging results. In one study, energy expenditure was compared in men who were given green tea extract versus caffeine or plain water. The green tea extract caused a 4 percent boost in metabolism. The amount of extract given was approximately the amount reported to be in a cup of green tea.
People who enjoy drinking green tea and who are watching their weight might already be getting a small boost in metabolism. If you want to try adding green tea to your diet plan, keep in mind it also contains caffeine, albeit less than coffee.
Also, the polyphenols in green tea are biologically active, and may interfere with medications you take. A pharmacist or physician can advise on this issue.
As research into the effects of EGCG continues and its usefulness as a metabolism-booster is clarified, purified forms may become available. For now, enjoy a cup of green tea, but don’t expect weight loss miracles.
Donna Feldman, M.S., R.D., writes online health columns for The Diet Channel.
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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"
Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge