Not just your waistline, green tea may help reduce risk of type 2 diabetes too, a study published in Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism notes. The 2020-published study, titled Effects of green tea consumption on glycemic control: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials, stated that in short-term trials, green tea supplementation “significantly reduced fasting glucose, but had no significant effect on fasting insulin and HbA1c”.
In simple terms, green tea intake had a favourable effect on fasting blood glucose concentration but didn’t affect fasting blood insulin or HbA1c, which is a test that measures the amount of blood sugar (glucose) attached to haemoglobin.
Based on a meta-analysis of 27 studies that involved 2,194 participants, the study also noted that long-term trials assessing the effects of green tea supplementation on glycemic control are needed.
Notably, type 2 diabetes, caused due to insulin is a significant global public health challenge, according to World Health Organization. Caused by improper use of insulin by the body, the condition occurs due to excess body weight and physical inactivity.
Green tea, which is one of the least processed teas made from unoxidised leaves of Camellia sinensis, has been linked to the prevention of type 2 diabetes due to the presence of catechins. Anam Golandaz, clinical dietician at Masina Hospital explained that it’s a “great alternative” to sugary and caloric sodas and energy drinks, which contains lots of sugars and calories.
“When you lose weight, you increase your insulin sensitivity and will have a lower blood sugar level. Green tea contains catechins that help to reduce the effects of insulin resistance by decreasing the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates,” elaborated Golandaz.
She further noted that depending on the variety, a plain cup of green tea from a steeped bag contains zero calories, according to US Department of Agriculture’s nutrition data.
“This zero calorie drink is known for possessing high levels of antioxidants that promote overall health benefits. It surely aids weight loss by initiating faster fat burns which helps cut down the risk of diabetes and other metabolic diseases as shown in the study too,” she said.
However, “drinking cups of green tea won’t prevent diabetes“. “You need to follow the right diet and exercise plan to stay healthy and fit,” stressed Golandaz. “In some studies, green tea consumption has lowered fasting blood sugar but its effect on hemoglobin A1c and fasting insulin levels is not consistent.,” said Dr (Mr) Kiran Rukadikar, bariatric physician and obesity consultant, and founder of DietQueen App.
Dr Rukadikar said that just like the popular claim that “a person should consume eight glasses of water per day” has no real basis in science, similarly the claim that green tea helps in “lowering the risk of diabetes, and losing weight has no benefits”.
How much green tea can help?
According to Golandaz, if one would like to have green tea, they should limit their consumption to drinking two cups of green tea daily.