Study Shows Black Tea Speeds Up Metabolism

A caffeinated, hydrating alternative to black coffee, black tea has now been revealed to have a revving effect on the metabolism of the drinker. The study, conducted at the University of California, tested the impact of the drink on gut bacteria in mice. The tea increased the population of a specific genus of bacteria, helpful in absorption of nutrients and digestion, stimulate the production of short-chain fatty acids in the gut, thereby boosting metabolic rate.

It sounds complicated, we know — in summary, black tea helps your body metabolize the nutrients from food faster.

Both black and green teas were investigated in the study, since both have been associated with reducing the amount of "bad" bacteria in the gut while boosting the good.

Some mice were given black tea, some were given green, and some were given no tea at all. The mice that drank black tea showed an increase in Pseudobutyrivibrio, a bacterium which specifically targets the metabolism. The researchers hypothesize that the bacterium was encouraged by polyphenols, a beneficial compound in both green and black tea.

"It was known that green tea polyphenols are more effective and offer more health benefits than black tea polyphenols," said Susanne Henning, lead author of the study. "Our new findings suggest that black tea, through a specific mechanism through the gut microbiome, may also contribute to good health."

While the study emphasizes a focus on weight loss, there is no guarantee that an increase in metabolism will cause a person to lose weight. A myriad of other factors, such as the tea drinker's set point, dietary habits, exercise regimen, and history of dieting affect whether the speedier metabolic rate will last — or whether the body will catch on and slow it back down.

However, there are many other benefits to drinking tea outside metabolism, and for the tea lovers out there, this boost of nutrient absorption just adds to the list of benefits a cup of hot black tea can offer.