Green tea catechins, caffeine and body-weight regulation
Author: M.S. Westerterp-Plantenga
The global prevalence of obesity has increased considerably in the last decade. Tools for obesity management including caffeine, and green tea have been proposed as strategies for weight loss and weight maintenance. These ingredients may increase energy expenditure and have been proposed to counteract the decrease in metabolic rate that is present during weight loss. Positive effects on body-weight management have been shown using green tea mixtures. Green tea, by containing both tea catechins and caffeine, may act through inhibition of catechol O-methyl-transferase, and inhibition of phosphodiesterase. Here the mechanisms may also operate synergistically. A green tea–caffeine mixture improves weight maintenance, through thermogenesis, fat oxidation, and sparing fat free mass. The sympathetic nervous system is involved in the regulation of lipolysis, and the sympathetic innervation of white adipose tissue may play an important role in the regulation of total body fat in general. Taken together, these functional ingredients have the potential to produce significant effects on metabolic targets such as thermogenesis, and fat oxidation. An ethnic or genetic effect, and habitual caffeine or green tea catechin intake may act as confounders; this remains to be revealed.