Green tea appears to be a new fad through which some people try to lose weight, but the risks involved are said to be higher than gains
By Benprince Ezeh
IN the world today, people with weight problem seek all sorts of ways to slim down. They often resort to exercises, observe weight loss diets, skip meals and other options they deem fit. One of such options is to drink green tea or weight loss/body and heart cleansing tea as some will call it.
Green tea, native to China and India, has been consumed and hailed for its health benefits for centuries globally, but has only recently gained popularity in Nigeria.
All types of tea, except herbal tea, are brewed from the dried leaves of the Camellia sinensis bush. The level of oxidation of the leaves determines the type of tea.
According to dietary information green tea is made from unoxidised leaves and is one of the less processed types of tea. Therefore, it contains the most antioxidants and beneficial polyphenols.
That notwithstanding, Pius Ezeh, a property developer, enjoys drinking green tea, saying it has been good to his health. He has been taking the tea twice a week only at night in the past six years just to keep fit. “I go to the toilet like 3-4 times before morning and when I wake up, my body feels light and free.
“The only issue I often have whenever I take it is that it makes me uncomfortable and I barely sleep because of constant running/watering stomach,” he said.
Joy Chukwu, a nutritionist with the University Teaching Hospital Enugu, said that a huge number of Nigerians who drink green tea for cleansing of their body use it wrongly. “These teas are special herbal teas that shouldn’t be taken alone and this is where Nigerians miss it. They are probably to be taken in mixture with something else.
“The reason why many Nigerians develop health issues is because they do not use the tea in the right way. Nigerians want the fast method, especially when it comes to weight loss and heart cleansing. These types of teas are like hard drugs and are designed to work very fast.
“People take green tea and yet their diet is terrible. You can’t lose weight or flush your body that way; rather, you’re only damaging your system. Whenever I counsel people who are obese or think that their hearts are paining them in one way or the other, I advise them to desist from such teas and go through the right method.
“Once one is able to cut out fried food, starchy rice, red meat, full cream milk, smoking, quit or reduce alcohol consumption, one will definitely lose weight and gain his/her full health” She said.
On her part, Felicita Ogbu, a doctor, said that people who choose to take the tea should lose weight the proper way and avoid dying prematurely. “I’m not condemning this tea because it has its own advantages, but I know that there are other better ways to lose weight.
“To them, it’s the fast and easy way of gaining whatever they feel it’s given, but it can trigger off serious side effects, leading to death in some cases. We don’t know the contents of the tea and are not sure of the expiry date. Many of these body/heart cleansing teas are gimmicks. There is no scientifically controlled evidence to prove they work.
“If you believe you suffer from overweight or heart issues which I know it’s mainly from smokers and alcoholics, the person should watch his or her diet and do exercises because it’s safer but hard method to lose weight than using teas” She said
However, the National Cancer Institute said that the polyphenols in green tea has been shown to decrease tumour growth in laboratory and animal studies and may protect against damage caused by ultraviolet UVB radiation.
In countries where green tea consumption is high, cancer rates tend to be lower, but it is impossible to know for sure whether it is the green tea that prevents cancer in these particular populations or other lifestyle factors.
Researchers believe that it is the high level of polyphenols in the tea that helps kill cancerous cells and stops them from growing. In any case, the exact mechanism by which tea interacts with cancerous cells is unknown. According to some studies, it has not been proven that the tea can reduce cancer risk. The amount of tea required for cancer-preventive effects also varies widely in studies – from two to 10 cups per day.
In 2005, the United States Food and Drug Administration stated: “there is no credible evidence to support qualified health claims for green tea consumption and a reduced risk of gastric, lung, colon/rectal, esophageal, pancreatic, ovarian, and combined cancers.”
However, it’s unsafe when taken by month long-term or in high-doses. It can cause side effects because of the caffeine. The fatal dose of caffeine in green tea is estimated to be 10-14 grams, 150-200 mg per kilogramme.
Serious toxicity can occur at lower doses. These side effects can range from mild to serious and include headache, nervousness, sleep problems, vomiting, diarrhea, irritability, irregular heartbeat, tremor, heartburn, dizziness, ringing in the ears, convulsions, and confusion. Green tea also contains a chemical that has been linked with liver injury when used in high doses.
– Nov 30, 2017 @ 17:25 GMT |