Oolong tea benefits weight loss, right?
But everything I’ve read has told me so!
I know. But if you’re drinking a cup or two a day and hoping to magically shrink to the size of a supermodel, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
The truth is: there is no conclusive evidence that drinking oolong tea helps you lose weight, at least not directly.
So why do so many people claim that it does?
Most of them are just repeating something they heard or read elsewhere, without doing any additional research of their own.
And the additional reports linking oolong tea (or any other type of tea) to weight loss did not determine that the tea directly affected weight.
Instead, it seems that the healthier lifestyle that generally accompanies the switch to tea is what actually led to the weight loss, not the tea itself.
But that’s not to say that oolong tea isn’t healthy and that you should not drink it.
Quite the contrary!
Oolong tea has tons of health benefits, although most do still need a lot of study before we can conclusively consider them a benefit of wulong tea.
Let’s take a look at the main health benefits.
Table of Contents
Benefits Of Oolong Tea
While weight loss is not likely to be a benefit of oolong tea, here are some purported health benefits that have a bit more evidence backing them up. That said, findings are still inconclusive on everything, so much more study is needed.
The primary benefit of oolong tea (and any other tea) are its polyphenolic compounds. They are potent antioxidants that serve to remove free radicals from the body. This helps prevent numerous health issues:
- Inflammation: antioxidants may help reduce inflammation that causes issues like joint pain or muscle aches
- Brain And Memory Decline: evidence suggests that antioxidants may help increase brain function and memory ability and may protect brain tissue from oxidative damage.
- Effects Of Aging: antioxidants may help prevent wrinkles and other similar effects of aging
- Hair Damage: antioxidants may help protect collagen, which could lead to stronger hair and thus reduced hair breakage
- Cancer: mounting evidence suggests antioxidants may help prevent cancer, but they may also increase the growth of some cancers, once they have begun to take hold
- Eye Disease: antioxidant properties may provide relief, or even prevent, several eye health issues like macular degeneration and glaucoma
- Skin Damage: protecting collagen not only benefits hair, but skin as well, protecting its elasticity from the oxidative damage of free radicals
The other major benefit of oolong tea (and any tea) is the role it plays in relieving stress. The ancient Chinese used to drink tea as a way to relax and re-center themselves. And a study of Chinese women who were given oolong tea to drink, found that they experienced a reduction in stress levels.
A study done in Japan on mice evidenced a 10 to 18% reduction in the stress levels of mice that ingested oolong tea, as compared to those that did not. Another study showed a significant reduction is stress levels in human participants after only 1 week of drinking 4 servings per day of oolong tea.
Why Is Oolong Tea Linked To Weigh Loss?
It’s not just oolong, but any type of tea in general (note that I am referring only to actual tea made from leaves of the camellia sinensis plant and not any other so-called “teas” that are made from various other herbs). Read “Oolong Vs Green Tea” for more.
The link makes sense.
A lot of people switch to tea from unhealthy drinks. If you start drinking several cups of tea per day, in lieu of several cans of soda, then obviously, you will lose weight.
But it’s not the tea itself that is responsible. It’s the fact that you stopped drinking unhealthy soda.
Similarly, many people who start drinking tea, do so as part of an overall healthier lifestyle. They eat less junk food, exercise more and also drink tea. It is the overall lifestyle change that is responsible for the weight loss and not the tea directly.
The one way it may help more directly is due to the caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant and as such, can contribute to weight loss. However the effects are small and you’d need to drink an insane amount of oolong tea (which generally contains less caffeine than other types anyway) to see any noticeable fat loss.
What Is Special About Oolong Tea?
Supposedly, it increases your metabolism 10% more than green tea does. But I’ve read a similar claim about white tea and pu’er tea as well. And really, there isn’t much difference in benefits from one tea to the next.
Does that mean I can disprove those claims?
No. But I can’t prove them either and so far, neither can anyone else. And the same goes for any other weight loss claims made with regards to oolong tea, or any other tea.
Despite the numerous studies, none have proven anything conclusively. The only thing that seems certain is that there is some correlation between drinking oolong tea and weight loss.
So what am I saying exactly?
That you shouldn’t bother drinking tea?
No, not at all—drink tea! And lots of it!
I drink it all day long myself. I’m just saying, don’t rely on tea for your weight loss. Replacing high calorie drinks with tea can definitely help, but you still need to exercise and eat healthy foods as well.
Finally, it goes without saying (I hope), that the tea I’m talking about and the tea all those studies are talking about is pure tea.
As soon as you add sugar, you’re adding calories.
If you absolutely can’t stand the taste, add honey, if you must, but even that adds calories. If you’re drinking tea to help in weight loss, whatever benefits you’re expecting, you won’t get them unless you’re drinking the tea without an added sweetener.
So, by all means, give oolong tea a try.
Don’t expect it to work magic, but it certainly won’t hurt either.
And if you don’t like the taste, I say keep drinking it anyway. You’ll get used to it faster than you think and actually come to enjoy it.
Oolong is a wonderful tea with the most complex flavors out of any variety (though pu’er lovers will disagree).
And while oolong tea likely doesn’t lead directly to weight loss, drinking it almost certainly has plenty of other health health benefits, just like any other type of tea. Our article on the difference between oolong and black tea discusses this a bit more.
Where To Get Oolong Tea
If you’re not sure where to get oolong tea, this article reviews my favorite online tea vendors. Teavivre is the best when it comes to oolong tea, since they specialize in high-quality Chinese teas.
Personally, I’d go with a Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe in English). It is one of China’s most famous teas and the most complex oolong in terms of flavor, in my opinion.